Former Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn: From Jan. 6 Experience to Congressional Run

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Harry Dunn, once a US Capitol police officer, now vies for a seat in the US House representing a Maryland district. The thoughts shared in this commentary solely belong to him.

Opinion by Harry Dunn – I’ve worked at the US Capitol for 15 years, where I found daily inspiration in its breathtaking Rotunda—a place of unparalleled beauty that never failed to awe me.

Three years ago, within that same revered building that always filled me with awe, I found myself engulfed in what seemed like endless hours of a harrowing blend—sweat, screams, fury, death, terror, blood, shattered limbs, spit, hate, horror, racism, and intolerance.

The upheaval and brutality that unfolded at the Capitol, a place I had sworn to safeguard, shook me to my core. The scars endured by myself and my brave colleagues from that savage assault are still on the mend. 

However, my dedication to fortifying our democracy has only grown stronger. That’s why I’ve decided to pursue a seat in Congress.

Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police officers engaged in intense hand-to-hand combat with insurrectionists on January 6, 2021, as the Capitol faced a full-scale siege. 

Those who launched the assault against the Capitol utilized various weapons against the defenders: Flags turned into makeshift spears, while torn-apart metal bike racks became weapons of attack.

Some of my fellow officers, who fought alongside me, were in agonizing pain from the injuries sustained while combating the assailants. 

Numerous officers found themselves temporarily blinded and coughing due to chemical irritants sprayed directly at their faces. Those of us who were Black officers faced not only physical assaults but also vile racial slurs hurled our way.

The wounds we bear, both physical and emotional, remain profound, a constant reminder of how delicate our democratic foundations can be.

The racial dimensions of some of these attacks were unsettling, resurrecting a dark history that many of us strive to distance ourselves from.

As an American deeply devoted to defending our Capitol for fifteen years, I’m left pondering why our nation isn’t united in seeking justice and accountability. 

It’s disheartening to witness the increasing support for former President Donald Trump, the catalyst behind the violence we witnessed that fateful day.

I find it deeply disturbing that individuals who participated in the assault on our democracy now aim to seek office within the very institution they desecrated. 

For the preservation of our democracy, we must elect leaders who hold our democratic institutions in reverence and prioritize our nation’s well-being above all else.

In the years following January 6, extremist factions within the Republican party have reneged on their feeble condemnations of the former president. 

Some now openly question the reality of the insurrection, seeking to erase the significance of that day and embracing baseless conspiracy theories.

As Americans, we must demand transparency, accountability, and an unwavering dedication to upholding the values that fortify our nation. 

It’s high time for lawmakers to prioritize the country over party affiliations and take a firm stance against any threat posed to our democratic principles.

I never wish to revisit the horrors of January 6 – that’s why the upcoming election holds such urgency for me. It’s crucial to heed the lessons from the past, acknowledge our vulnerabilities, and actively fortify our democratic bedrock. 

The ordeal I faced on that bleak day ignites my resolve to drive substantive change, ensuring that such an assault never recurs.

My driving force is making it my crusade to share my story, stand firm in truth, and strive to prevent a recurrence. That’s why I recently retired from the police force and announced my candidacy for Congress in Maryland’s Third Congressional District.

Throughout my tenure, I’ve had the honor of engaging with numerous elected officials, congressional staff, employees, and visitors from across the globe at our nation’s Capitol. 

Each day, I was reminded of the United States’ role as a custodian of democracy. My commitment lies in holding accountable those who imperil our democratic values, ensuring that the events of January 6 remain a dark chapter in our nation’s history.

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