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House votes to award Congressional Gold Medals to police who responded to insurrection

Capitol Breach The Road to Riot
Posted at 5:29 PM, Mar 17, 2021

The House voted in a largely bipartisan manner on Wednesday to bestow Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police and DC Metropolitan Police for their actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The entire Democratic caucus and all but 12 Republicans voted in favor of the bill. The 12 Republicans were ones who largely backed President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.

Previously, the Senate voted to give a Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman who was seen protecting the US Senate during the counting of Electoral College votes.

One-hundred and forty officers were injured and one was killed amid the violence at the Capitol during the counting of the Electoral College. The Capitol was overtaken by a mob of supporters of Trump in hopes of disrupting the process that ultimately confirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

George Tanios, 39, and Julian Khater, 32, were arrested on Wednesday in connection to the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. Sicknick died in a DC-area hospital on Jan. 7. The Capitol Police said that Sicknick died as a result from injuries sustained during the insurrection.

“The outstanding heroism and patriotism of our heroes deserve and demand our deepest appreciation, which is why I am honored to introduce legislation to pay tribute to the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6 with the Congressional Gold Medal: the highest honor that the Congress can bestow,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to House colleagues. “The service of the Capitol Police force that day brings honor to our Democracy, and their accepting this Gold Medal will bring luster to this award.”

Capitol Police said in a statement that it wanted to also acknowledges other law enforcement agencies that assisted the Capitol Police on Jan. 6.

“To have our police officers’ bravery acknowledged at a time when they’re experiencing tremendous emotions and exhaustion is a gift,” acting Chief Yogananda Pittman said. "We have too many heroes to count and we are humbled Congress may recognize them in this way. From the cards and letters of support we’ve received from around this great country to this incredible award, we are deeply humbled and appreciative.”

While many officers have been praised for their heroism, law enforcement leaders were roundly criticized for their lack of preparation for the Jan. 6 riot. The previous chief of the Capitol Police, the House sergeant-at-arms and the Senate sergeant-at-arms all resigned in the wake of the riot.

As part of Wednesday’s vote, the Smithsonian Institute will also receive a Congressional Gold Medal to be displayed with a plaque listing all law enforcement agencies that participated in protecting the Capitol.