Pro-Trump mob hurled racial slurs at Black officers on Jan. 6, Capitol Police Officer Dunn says

·Reporter
·2 min read

On Jan. 6, after the violent pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol had finally been cleared from the building, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn sobbed on a bench in the rotunda as he told another Black officer about the racial slurs he’d been subjected to during the riot.

“How the ‘blank’ could something like this happen?” Dunn asked his fellow officer. “Is this America?”

Dunn relayed this exchange during emotional testimony Tuesday before the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack. He testified that on Jan. 6, a group of rioters who’d breached the Capitol, some of whom carried Confederate flags, hurled racial epithets at him when he tried to get them to leave the building.

US Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn becomes emotional, before members of the Select Committee investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol, during their first hearing in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP via Getty Images)
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn shares emotional testimony Tuesday at the hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP via Getty Images)

After the rioters were told to leave, Dunn said the group responded, “No, man, this is our house. President Trump invited us here.”

While Dunn said that as a law enforcement officer, “I do my best to keep politics out of my job,” he felt compelled to engage when members of the mob, who’d sought to stop Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, falsely claimed that “nobody voted for Joe Biden.”

Dunn said he told the group, many of whom were wearing T-shirts and hats emblazoned with Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA, that he voted for Biden and asked, “Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?”

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces at the Capitol on Jan. 6. (Brent Stirton/Getty Images)

This, he said, “prompted a torrent of racial epithets.”

“One woman in a pink MAGA shirt yelled, ‘You hear that, guys? This n***** voted for Joe Biden,’” Dunn recalled. “Then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming ‘Boooo, f***ing n*****!’”

Choking back tears, he told the panel, “No one had ever, ever called me a n***** while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer.”

(R-L) US Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Daniel Hodges, DC Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone and US Capitol Police officer Sgt. Aquilino Gonell testify  during the Select Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol, during their first hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP via Getty Images)
Dunn testifies at Tuesday's hearing. (Chip Somodevilla/AFP via Getty Images)

But he wasn’t the only one subjected to racist attacks that day. Dunn said that “in the days following the attempted insurrection, other Black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on Jan. 6.”

He said that one officer had been confronted by a group of insurrectionists inside the Capitol who told him, “Put your gun down and we’ll show you what kind of n***** you really are.”

Another told him he’d never in his life been called the N-word to his face.

“That streak ended on Jan. 6,” Dunn said.

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