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They protected the Capitol on Jan. 6. Now, they vow to share their experience: 'It was a dark day'

Posted at 10:18 PM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-20 11:56:24-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- On January 6, 2021, these two officers were attacked during the insurrection at the United States Capitol. On Thursday, they were at VCU's campus to share their experiences with students.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Danny Hodges both feel it's important for everyone to have an accurate account of what happened that day. They added that whole sharing their story can be traumatizing, but it can also be therapeutic.

The officers recounted the day from beginning to end, with Dunn remembering driving into D.C. on the morning of January 6 and seeing many people on the street. He remembered finding this bizarre as it was during the pandemic when all museums were closed.

"It was an eerie feeling. Something just ain't right," Dunn remembered.

He said he was initially expecting that day to be like any other, saying there were always protests at the Capitol. However, he would have no idea how significant the day would become until he was in the middle of it.

On that day, Hodges was fulfilling his duties for the D.C. Police. He shared that before January 6, he hadn't been inside the Capitol since he was a kid - that was until he was called in as mutual aid to help.

The two shared they realized something was very wrong after they received frantic calls for help over their radios.

"There was a sea of rioters headed toward us. A scene from a movie. They were just coming," Dunn said.

For hours, both officers worked to fight off people who were fighting them and calling them names as the two, along with many other officers, tried to resecure the Capitol.

Saying they were outnumbered 58 to 1, Hodges said he was attacked and beaten and that someone tried to gouge out his eye.

The U.S. Government has reviewed thousands of hours of footage to pursue charges for those who committed crimes that day. In that process, they obtained a video where a person used Officer Hodge's shield to beat him.

Hodge would sustain a concussion along with other injuries.

"We weren't fighting to make arrests, we were fighting to survive and to protect the people inside," Hodge said.

Since that day, the two have had to testify in court and to Congress as they seek accountability.

To this day, the two officers still work in their respective police departments. They said through the help of therapy, they are doing okay and are finding ways to heal but they can still struggle with PTSD attacks.

They said because they are not alone in experiencing the mental impacts from that day, they vow to continue to share firsthand accounts with crowds across the country.

"It was a dark day but it was also a victory because they did not stop the transfer of power," Hodges said.

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