Inside, we were invaded. The teams of two ended up going their separate ways. Now we are just one man units. It was so confusing because everyone was everywhere. They didn’t just go through the doors; they came through the windows. We were just overwhelmed. This fight begins for hours. You have a mask. There is an OC spray [a kind of pepper spray] in the air. All of these factors contribute to officer fatigue. Everyone’s just running on adrenaline, just pure adrenaline.
At one point, I confronted a group of terrorists in the crypt. There were downed officers behind me, and I’m like, “I have to hold this corridor.” I’m tired, but I said, “You’re not coming this way.” They said, “We are coming. It is our house. We are taking over. That’s where I said, “We have dozens of downed officers here.” Why are you doing this? Get out! “I guess it was a bunch of Oath Keepers and they looked worried.” Are the officers hurt? ” That’s when a guy said, “We’re doing this for you” and showed me his badge. He was an officer. But they didn’t walk through me. Only one person tried. to cross me at that point, and he met the floor. He met the ground. Finally, officers with armored equipment responded and held that area.
Now there was a time when racist slurs were used against you.
So I ran into the stairwell. There are people panicking everywhere. They saw that I came from an area that was not occupied by terrorists. So they tried to go down the steps. I said, “No, you’re not going there.” And I am exhausted. They say, “Trump is our rightful president. No one voted for Joe Biden. I needed to catch my breath. So I said, “I voted for Joe Biden. What? Doesn’t my vote matter? “A woman replied:” This [slur] voted for Joe Biden! Everyone who was there started to join us. “Hey, [slur]! “More than 20 people have said so.
Later you broke down in the rotunda.
Once the FBI and all these other officers arrived, the Capitol began to be cleaned up and made more secure. The officers who had been fighting from the start, many of us sat down on the ground. There was garbage everywhere. The smoke was thick. I saw a buddy of mine who I’ve basically known since I’ve been in the ministry, and we just looked at each other. And we just started talking about the day and how we were in pain. A war is made up of 100 battles. We were all in the war, but we all had different battles. Many of us black officers have fought a different battle than everyone else. I said to my boyfriend: “I have been called [slur] a few dozen times today. I am watching him. He’s got blood on him. I have bloody knuckles. We are suffering. That’s when I said, “Is this America?” and I started to cry. Tears are running down my face. “Is this America?”
I know you want to stay away from politics, but how did you feel when your experience was reference in the impeachment trial?
At that point, I had not yet gone public. But a lot of people knew my story. I was in the middle of the Rotunda crying. I was noisy. I did not hide it. I was starting to heal, and it kind of got me back there. It was a difficult time.
What was the impact of the violence of January 6 on the mental health of police officers?
It cost us terribly. Advisors were available, but I think a lot of people are reluctant to use them. Mental health has always been a stigma. Nobody wants to talk about it. If you appear to be broken or hurt, you are weak. Now people are asking, “Can I even go tell them I’m not doing well without them taking my gun and losing my job?” I want people to know that everything is fine and that it is okay to feel a certain way.