Videos turn Eugene Goodman into reluctant hero in attack on Capitol Hill

Feb 12, 2021 Travel News

Videos turn Eugene Goodman into reluctant hero in attack on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON – Among the heart-wrenching footage shown during former President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, one video stood out of a police officer rushing towards a US senator to warn of angry crowds nearby.

Senator Mitt Romney is shown spinning on his heels and fleeing to safety.

“I don’t think my family or my wife understood that I was as close as I could have been to real danger,” Romney told reporters on Thursday, a day after the video was released. shown to Eugene Goodman, a well-known Capitol Hill police officer. for his bravery, helping him. “They were surprised and very, very grateful to Officer Goodman for being there and directing me to safety.

For Officer Goodman, this was the second time a video has gone viral showing actions widely credited with saving members of Congress. The first one, which showed him single-handedly pulling a crowd away from the Senate entrance to an area with reinforcements, turned him into a hero. The second added to its tradition.

Both catapulted Officer Goodman – a former army infantryman who served in one of Iraq’s most dangerous regions during one of the war’s deadliest periods – to fame he never searched.

On Wednesday, after watching videos showing Agent Goodman directing Mr. Romney to safety, Mr. Romney could be seen speaking with Agent Goodman. Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman then walked by and punched Constable Goodman in the fist.

On Thursday, President Nancy Pelosi singled out Officer Goodman for her courage when she introduced a bill to reward the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel who responded Jan.6 with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor of Congress. On January 20, Agent Goodman was assigned the task of escorting Vice President Kamala Harris to the inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Veterans who served alongside Officer Goodman in the 101st Airborne Division some 15 years ago in Iraq say the officer, then known as “Goody,” never needed of distinctions.

“I saw him come before the vice president and he immediately leaned to the right,” said Mark Belda, who served with Officer Goodman in Iraq. “I thought it was definitely Goody.”

When he watched the first video closely, Mr. Belda said, he saw the attributes he recognized in Officer Goodman from Iraq. “He wasn’t inclined to anger. As an infantryman your job is to be violent, but it was never his first reaction to use the stick before using the carrot.

In Iraq, Officer Goodman was a sergeant and leader of a 10-rifle platoon that took on new responsibilities soon after his unit arrived in 2005.

His “Hardrock Company” operated in the Sunni Triangle area near Baghdad in central Iraq, where US troops engaged in some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

Platoons had to conduct multiple combat patrols each day to identify explosives before they exploded, a job that often resulted in various injuries, according to Lt. Col. Jeff Farmer, who served alongside Officer Goodman in the business.

“The front team leader was critical, someone willing to take that risk and lead his team day in and day out,” said Colonel Farmer.

That leader was Officer Goodman.

“I don’t remember exactly how many foot patrols Goody ran as a liaison man in the company, but I can say there were probably hundreds of them, which frankly made him the go-to type. when others needed assurance that things were going to happen. be OK, ”Colonel Farmer said.

Officer Goodman was a low-key professional, his superiors said, serious and focused on his missions, but also quick with a joke to ease tensions in the ranks, they said. His comrades could count on him to do “the right thing,” said John Greis, who served as a platoon sergeant in Iraq. “It’s freshness under pressure.”

Col. Farmer said he was not surprised when he saw the video of Officer Goodman facing the angry crowd in the Capitol.

“Quiet, cool and gathered under fire, it’s just Goody,” Col. Farmer said. “I trusted my life with him and I will again today.”

Officer Goodman is now in awkward territory, according to his fellow veterans. He did not comment publicly and did not return several interview requests, including a handwritten note to his apartment near District Heights, Maryland.

A neighbor said Constable Goodman did not return to his apartment in the days following the attack on the Capitol and advised residents of his building not to speak to the media.

“He doesn’t want to be the center of attention. He just wants to get on the side and you can all do whatever you want, ”said Mr. Belda, Mr. Goodman’s former first sergeant. “Let me do my job and you do whatever you want, leave me alone.”

Charles H. Ramsey, who headed police departments in Washington and Philadelphia, said the actions of Officer Goodman and others who responded to the violence on January 6 were even more impressive because “they were put in a terrible position ”by failed senior officials. to act on the basis of information indicating that violent groups intended to assemble in Washington.

“And yet they responded in a very heroic way. They made the most of it. Without them, it would have been an incredible tragedy, ”said Ramsey. “If Mitt Romney had continued in this room and encountered these rioters, or these insurgents, there is no doubt in my mind that he probably would have been taken away.

But he also said the new fame might be embarrassing for a cop who never wanted it.

“He gets a lot of attention, and rightly so, but he also knows he wasn’t the only person there that day,” Ramsey said. “He’s a hero, there’s no doubt about it. But I also think it’s embarrassing to be in this position.

When Mr Belda saw the footage of Officer Goodman facing the crowds on Capitol Hill, it reminded him of the feeling he had when he was outnumbered as he fought in front of a helicopter that had just been shot dead in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the known 1993 battle. like Black Hawk Down.

“I know that feeling, when you feel like you’re outnumbered and you don’t know what’s going to happen next,” Mr. Belda said. “But you have to do your job.” Just hours after the attack on the Capitol, Mr. Belda contacted Officer Goodman, but he kept it short. He told himself he must be overwhelmed.

“I just texted him and said, ‘Dude, I know you don’t wanna talk about this,’” Mr. Belda said. “But I’m proud of you.” Agent Goodman responded by saying he was grateful for the message.

Mr. Belda said he looked forward to telling her in person soon.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.