Lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill to award hero Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal after he led a MAGA mob of rioters away from the Senate last week.
US Representatives Nancy Mace, Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Charlie Crist announced the bipartisan bill to honor Goodman for ‘his bravery and quick thinking’ during last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.
‘When Officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between Members of Congress & the mob, he selflessly redirected their fury on himself so they could escape. @RepCharlieCrist,@repcleaver, & I urge he be honored w/ the Congressional Gold Medal,’ Mace tweeted on Thursday.
In a statement, the representatives explained why Goodman deserved the medal, writing: ‘Various media outlets witnessed as Officer Goodman valiantly put himself in harm’s way, luring a violent mob away from an unguarded entrance to the Senate chambers, protecting Senators, staff, and reporters inside.’
Congressman Crist called Goodman ‘a hero’ like so many others have.
‘The United States Capitol was under attack by armed, violent extremists, and this man, Officer Eugene Goodman, was the one thing standing between the mob and the United States Senate,’ Crist said.
Lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill to award hero Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman (left) with the Congressional Gold Medal after he led a MAGA mob of rioters away from the Senate last week
US Representatives Nancy Mace, Emanuel Cleaver, II, and Charlie Crist announced the bipartisan bill to honor Goodman for ‘his bravery and quick thinking’ during last week’s insurrection at the Capitol
‘I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman’s fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country. While some will remember last Wednesday for the very worst in our country, the patriotism and heroics of Officer Eugene Goodman renew my faith and remind us all what truly makes the United States great,’ Crist said.
Mace added: ‘The actions of Officer Goodman were heroic and represent the best of law enforcement.’
‘When he was the only thing standing between Members of Congress and the violent mob, he quickly and selflessly redirected their fury upon himself so those Members could escape. Thanks to his valor, we are here today. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank him enough for his bravery and for his dedication to the call of duty,’ the congresswoman added.
Congressman Cleaver applauded Goodman’s quick thinking.
‘In moments of crisis, there are always individuals who rise to the occasion and put themselves in harm’s way in defense of others. On January 6, 2021, one of those individuals was Officer Eugene Goodman.
‘If not for the quick, decisive, and heroic actions from Officer Goodman, the tragedy of last week’s insurrection could have multiplied in magnitude to levels never before seen in American history. With this prestigious award, we can show our gratitude to Officer Goodman for saving countless lives and defending our democracy,’ Cleaver added.
Friends and coworkers of Goodman, 40, have spoken out to praise his ability to ‘think on [his] feet’ and reveal that he humbly told them he was just doing his job to ‘protect and serve’ as he faced off with the rioters alone inside the Capitol.
Goodman has been hailed a hero for his part in protecting lawmakers from the violent pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol last Wednesday in a riot that left five – including a cop – dead.
Footage shows the black cop single-handedly leading the mob of largely white men, including white supremacists and Proud Boys, in the direction away from the Senate doors moments before they were locked.
Calls have mounted for Goodman to be awarded the Medal of Valor or Medal of Honor for his actions. Jaime Harrison, former candidate for the Senate representing South Carolina, said Goodman single-handedly ‘saved our Republic’.
‘The word hero does not appropriately describe officer Eugene Goodman,’ he said.
‘His judgment & heroism may have saved our Republic. I hope consider him for the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is the least we can do.’
Goodman (far right) during his time in the military. Goodman’s ‘quick thinking’ in what was a moment of national crisis comes from his military background, a friend said
Goodman has been hailed a hero for his part in protecting lawmakers from the violent pro-Trump mob (pictured) that stormed the Capitol last Wednesday in a riot that left five – including a cop – dead
Ben Crump, the civil rights attorney who has represented the families of Breonna Taylor, Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery and others tweeted calling for him to be commended for his actions.
‘Eugene Goodman deserves the Medal of Valor!’ he said.
‘He could have stepped aside and let Trump insurgents get to the Senate chamber while Senators were still there.
‘Instead, this heroic officer got them to follow him the other direction, giving lawmakers time to escape!’
Goodman’s friends who have spoken with him in the days after the riot, including two fellow officers and a former colleague, told the Washington Post he is now fearful he will be a target for far-right extremists in the wake of his heroic actions.
They said Goodman, who has not spoken out since the incident and is described as private and reserved, is finding the limelight ‘a little scary’.
‘He said he’d do the same thing again. He’s not looking for any accolades,’ an anonymous friend and fellow Capitol cop told the Post.
‘But the attention is a little scary for him.’
Goodman has reportedly downplayed his label as a hero telling his colleagues he was just doing his job after footage of the incident was circulated worldwide.
‘My job is to protect and serve,’ he reportedly told them. ‘And on that day, I was protecting.’
But his colleague credited his actions, which is thought to have happened while the Senate doors were still unlocked, with ensuring the lawmakers were able to flee to safety before the mob broke into the chamber.
‘He was diverting people from getting on the Senate floor and getting hostages. It was the smartest thing that he could have ever done,’ his colleague said.
‘I don’t know that many people who can think on their feet like that… His quick thinking enabled those Senators to get to safety.’
Another friend said Goodman’s ‘quick thinking’ in what was a moment of national crisis comes from his military background.
‘I’ve always said, if bullets start ripping through, I’m finding Goodman,’ said Terry, who didn’t share his last name with the Post for fear of a backlash by extremists.
‘He’s been in hostile fire fights, so he knows how to keep his head.’
Goodman, from Southeast Washington, served in the US Army from 2002 to 2006.
He was deployed to Iraq as part of the 101st Airborne Division and was awarded a combat infantryman badge.
Terry told the Post Goodman has often struggled as a black cop, with some telling him he is ‘too black for the badge, but too blue for the brothers’.
Tensions between law enforcement and black communities reached a high in 2020 in the wake of the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd at the hands of a white cop. Floyd’s death put a greater spotlight on multiple cop killings of black people across America.
Numerous public figures – including President-elect Joe Biden – have pointed to the stark difference in treatment of the white mob last week compared to the treatment of Black Lives Matter supporters in the streets of DC last year.
Doug Jensen was arrested on Saturday, having led the mob against Goodman. He appeared in the federal courthouse in Des Moines via Zoom from Polk County Jail Tuesday where he was indicted on six federal charges
Police try to hold back protesters pushing into a doorway at the Capitol last Wednesday
Many have said that, had Wednesday’s mob been largely black, cops would have used greater force and discharged their firearms more readily.
Meanwhile, Goodman’s heroic actions as a lone black cop against a white angry mob comes as numerous rioters are being arrested, many who are white supremacists and members of hate group the Proud Boys.
Kirk D. Burkhalter, a professor at New York Law School and a former New York City police officer, told the Post this makes Goodman’s actions all the more worthy of praise.
Burkhalter said it usually ‘doesn’t end up well for the black folks’ when white people with Confederate flags are following them.
The professor also said, having analyzed the video of the encounter, it is clear Goodman helped to prevent a ‘tremendous tragedy’ and a higher death toll.
‘These folks had zip ties. It’s not unreasonable to say that they were ready to take hostages,’ he said.
‘Officer Goodman really helped to avoid a tremendous tragedy.’
He said Goodman took three key tactical actions during the 85-second standoff all at the same time.
The cop led the rioters away from the Senate, coordinated for backup on the second-floor landing and exercised restraint, he said.
One USCPD officer, Brian Sicknick, died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher that was hurled at police during the riot
Goodman was hailed a hero after the footage, filmed by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic, circulated showing him trying to fend off the mob.
Armed only with a baton, Goodman is seen alone facing off with dozens of rioters headed up by Doug Jensen, 41, who was wearing a QAnon hoodie and shouting.
Goodman backs away from the mob then lightly pushes Jensen, who then follows him up the stairs.
At the top of the stairs, the cop is seen glancing left to where the doors lead straight to the Senate.
At that moment, 2.15pm, according to a detailed analysis by The Washington Post, the Senate doors were unlocked as security tried frantically to protect the senators inside.
Jensen then looks in the same direction toward the doors. At this point, Goodman shoved Jensen with his baton and started heading in the opposite direction to the Senate.
He heads up another flight of stairs with the mob following him – leading them to where a group of fellow officers are waiting.
One minute after the incident, the Senate door was locked.
It’s unclear if Goodman knew the door was unlocked at the time but his actions stopped the mob from getting into the Senate floor while the lawmakers were there, allowing crucial moments for them to be evacuated.
Jensen was arrested on Saturday for his part in the riot.
He appeared in the federal courthouse in Des Moines via Zoom from Polk County Jail Tuesday where he was indicted on six federal charges.
These are: knowingly entering or remaining in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority, disrupting the orderly conduct of government business, violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building, obstructing a law enforcement officer during a civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers or employees.
His next court hearing is scheduled for January 19.
More than 80 people have been arrested so far over last week’s riot but authorities are still asking for help in identifying dozens of those involved, including a man wanted in connection to the murder of Capitol cop Brian Sicknick.
Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher that was hurled at police during the riot.