Capitol police officer chased by mobs on January 6 testifies publicly for the first time

A police officer praised for his bravery during the US Capitol riots testified Monday that a man carrying a Confederate war flag stabbed him with a pole. flag before joining the crowd chasing him up the stairs.

In his first public testimony since the events of January 6, 2021, Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman described his encounters with the Delaware man, Kevin Seefried, and his adult son. his brother, Hunter Seefried, at his trial for the crime they committed the Capitol together.

Goodman has been hailed as a hero for leading a group of rioters out of the Senate chamber and up a flight of stairs to the area where other officers were waiting. Goodman also directed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, to turn around and run away from the crowd.

‘He was very angry,’ the officer recalled

Goodman recalls seeing Kevin Seefried standing alone on the archway and telling him to leave. Instead, Seefried cursed at him and stabbed the officer at the end of the flagpole three or four times without contacting him, Goodman said.

“He was very angry. Yelling. Talking loudly,” said Goodman. “The exact opposite of pleasant.”

Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman speaks to an angry crowd inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. (Igor Bobic / HuffPost / The Associated Press)

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden is hearing testimony without a jury for the Seefrieds bench trial, which begins Monday.

The Seefrieds waive their right to a jury trial, which means McFadden will decide their case.

Widely released photos show Kevin Seefried carrying a Confederate battle flag inside the Capitol after he and his son entered the building through a broken window.

The charges against both Kevin and Hunter Seefried include one count of obstructing an official due process – a joint session of Congress that certified Joe Biden’s victory over then-President Donald Trump in the presidential election. 2020.

In his opening remarks, defense lawyers said Seefrieds never intended to interfere with the Electoral College vote count.

“Real, [Kevin Seefried] didn’t even know if the election was going on or was happening on the Capitol,” one of his lawyers, Elizabeth Mullin, told the judge.

Another Capitol Police officer who faced the crowd near the Senate chamber recounted that Kevin Seefried asked him, “Why? [you] protect them? “

“I assumed he was talking about Congress,” officer Brian Morgan testified.

Riot ‘like something from the Middle Ages’

Before confronting the crowd inside the Capitol, Goodman joined other officers in trying to contain the rioters as they clashed with police outside the building.

“It was like something from the Middle Ages, with one colossal force clashing with another opposing force,” says Goodman. “I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Goodman said he had to retreat to the inside of the building after being pepper sprayed by police and exposed to tear gas.

Seefrieds has not been charged with assaulting any officers.

Mullin admitted that Kevin Seefried committed two misdemeanors, that he knowingly entered a restricted building and illegally protested on the Capitol.

Hunter Seefried, then 22, may have acted “stupidly,” but had no intention of stopping Congress from certifying the election results, defense attorney Edson Bostic said.

Allegedly traveling to hear Trump speak

Goodman recounted that Hunter Seefried was smirking, but he said he didn’t see him act aggressive or hear him yell at the police.

“He just didn’t follow orders,” Goodman said.

The Seefrieds traveled to Washington from their home in Laurel, Del., to listen to Trump’s speech at the “Stop Theft” rally on January 6.

They climbed over a wall near stairs and scaffolding in the northwest section of the Capitol and were among the first rioters to reach the building near the door of the Senate, according to prosecutors.

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Prosecutors said that after witnessing other rioters use police shields and wooden planks to break windows, Hunter Seefried used a gloved fist to clean shards of glass in one of broken windows.

In a court filing, prosecutors said the Confederate war flag Kevin Seefried brought from home was “a symbol of violent opposition to the government of the United States.”

Mullin said Seefried had no intention of “sending any kind of message” by bringing the flag into the Capitol and regrets doing so.

Judge criticized the Capitol case by prosecutors

McFadden, nominated by Trump in 2017, is the only judge to hold a bench trial for a Capitol riot to date.

In April, he acquitted New Mexico resident Matthew Martin of misdemeanor charges alleging he illegally entered the Capitol and disorderly conduct after he entered the building.

In March, McFadden acquitted an elected New Mexico official for engaging in disorderly conduct, but convicted him of illegally entering restricted Capitol grounds.

McFadden has criticized prosecutors’ handling of the Capitol riots.

He suggested that the Justice Department has been unfairly tougher on Capitol riot defendants than those arrested at protests against police brutality and racist injustice. following the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

There will be more bench tests

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is expected to preside over a bench trial against Jesus Rivera, a Pensacola, Fla., man accused of four riot-related misdemeanor. Former US President Bill Clinton nominated Kollar-Kotelly to the court in 1997.

At least four other Capitol riot defendants have bench trials this year.

The jurors unanimously convicted the five Capitol riot defendants on all counts, a perfect record for prosecutors to date. More than 300 other defendants pleaded guilty to rioting, most of them misdemeanors, and sentenced to no more than a year in prison.

About 100 others have trial dates in 2022 or 2023. More than 800 people have been charged with federal crimes in connection with the January 6 attacks.

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