By Doina Chiacu
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A police officer who suffered a brain injury at the hands of rioters during last year's U.S. Capitol attack described the scenes of violence and chaos – including fellow officers bloodied and on the ground – in testimony on Thursday before the congressional panel investigating the assault.
U.S. Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards was one of two witnesses appearing in person during the first hearing of the House of Representatives select committee probing the Jan. 6, 2021, assault. She described how she got hurt and what she found when she finally got to safety behind a Washington Metropolitan Police line.
“What I saw was just a war scene. It was something like I'd seen out of the movies. I couldn't believe my eyes. There were officers on the ground. You know, they were bleeding. They were throwing up. … I was slipping in people's blood,” she testified.
The committee showed a video clip of Edwards getting injured while she was trying to hold back the mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters with two of the metal bike racks police were using as barricades.
“I felt the bike rack come on top of my head and I was pushed backwards and my foot caught the stair behind me. And my chin hit the handrail – at that point I had blacked out. … The back of my head clipped the concrete stairs behind me.”
Edwards said she returned to duty after she regained consciousness.
More than 100 police officers were injured that day and one died the next day. Four officers later died by suicide.
Edwards told the committee she has been proud to put on a uniform and serve her country. But on that day, she was called by rioters House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's dog, incompetent and a villain.
“They dared to question my honor,” Edwards said. “They dared to question my loyalty and they dared to question my duty.”
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Will Dunham)