“I Was A Capitol Police Officer on January 6th!”

By Police Officer Caroline Edwards

From The New York Times, Dec. 18, 2022, 6:00 a.m. ET

[My Note: Too often the mistakes of a few officers sully the work of the majority. This is a time to reflect on what dedicated, selfless police work looks like. Caroline Edwards, a Capitol Police officer, was injured in the line of duty on Jan. 6. This is her story from this tragic day in 2021. It should remind us how doing a good job in emergency services can result in long-standing personal trauma.]

“Many Americans think that the saga of the Capitol riot will soon be at its end. For two years, this country has endured an impeachment, lawsuits, criminal investigations, congressional hearings, televised theater. And this week, Congress will release its final report.

“But there is nothing final about this moment. A funeral doesn’t put an end to your grief. The trauma cannot be bookended by paperwork. These scars cannot be masked with fine print, debated in committee.

“For me, this story cannot end overnight, because the riot itself was an attack not just on an essential American institution but also on the people who live and serve to protect it.

“I was at the Capitol during the riot. I stood shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues, fighting for our lives, to protect the Capitol and the people who work there. Even now, I can barely talk about it.

“In fact, very few Capitol Police officers can.

“Sometimes we hold it to our chests, letting it weigh us down. Sometimes we forget for one moment that it happened, and we feel like ourselves again.

“Until someone brings it up.

“And then it physically hurts to talk about it.

“That day, we held our fellow officers’ hands as they got medical treatment and held vigil beside their hospital beds. We performed CPR on strangers and friends. We went home and washed blood, chemicals and bodily fluids off ourselves. We told our loved ones that we were all right.

“For the most part, we were. In an outstanding show of resiliency, officers got a few hours of sleep and then showed up, battered and bruised, to work the next day. Not only that, they showed up to the very places they had just been traumatized. They stood post in the crime scenes where, just hours before, they were battling for their lives. Day after day, officers came to work with the knowledge that not all of us had made it out alive.

“But months later, I was still struggling to process what had happened. Many of us were.

“On June 9, I was in the waiting room off the main hearing chamber, about to testify before the committee investigating the attack. There was a TV playing the hearing; I remember the noise leaking out from the chamber and then hearing it again, two seconds later, from the TV, as if the sound had been echoing through the halls. If I just focused on the echo, I rationalized, I wouldn’t have to hear what was being said. The truth is, I didn’t want to hear it. I couldn’t wait for the ordeal to be over.

“And then I heard the noise that haunts me to this day: the roar of the crowd at the riot. It instantly transported me back to Jan. 6. I started shaking and sweating. “I’m not there. I’m not there,” I chanted to myself. “It’s over. I’m not there.” But nothing was working. I could feel sweat trickling down my back. I tried to take deep breaths. From my training with the Capitol Police’s peer support program, I knew I was in real danger. I took off my shoes to feel the carpet underneath my feet, and I put my hands on a wooden desk — anything to tell my body that it wasn’t back on the West Front of the Capitol that January. I must have looked insane.

Slowly, my consciousness came back to the waiting room, and my heart slowed. I took a sip of water. They called for a brief recess. I was next. I went to a bathroom, still shaking, and looked in a mirror. Could I do this? Could I actually stand in front of these people and tell them my story? What if I broke down as I just did? I started praying. I didn’t know what else to do. I asked God to let people see me and hear me and know that my words were true. I knew that as long as I told the truth, I didn’t have anything to worry about.

“A sense of calm came over me. I was ready. I was ready for everyone to finally hear what I had lived with for a year and a half, ready to show people the face of someone who had been to hell and back again. And if that person happened to have shaking hands and sweat on her face, that’s what people were going to see. They needed to look at me, hear me and understand me. I needed to let America in. I took a deep breath and left the bathroom a different person.

“Recently I gave a speech in which I talked about the strength beyond measure I see in the small moments and everyday deeds of my fellow Capitol Police officers. I see it in the way they put flowers on the memorials of their fallen comrades. I see it in the way they continue to show up for one another, day in and day out. I see it in their laughter in the hallways and during roll call, in the way they train the next generation of their peers how to do the job and teach them the lessons we had to learn the hard way on Jan. 6. I see strength in the way officers are carrying on. I get my strength from them. Any time I’m tempted to worry about the future, I remind myself that these people made sure I went home alive that day. If they had to, they would do it again.

“But the trauma kicked off by the Capitol riot is still with us. Only by talking to one another and seeking out help and support from our fellow officers will we find peace — and that could take years. But I sincerely hope that any law enforcement officer knows that in a crisis, my phone is always on. You are never alone as long as you know me.”

_________________

For a deep review of that day, click HERE.

10 Comments

  1. Are you truly that unaware of the psychological operation at play here?

    This story, like all Jan 6 stories, are smokescreen narratives for what really happened there.

    no word of Ashley no word of Ray Epps no word of nancy’s lack of bumped security

    WIth the absence of the full story, this small story becomes absolutely meaningless – perhaps even HARMFUL for a nation needing the truth and not more propaganda.

    >

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      1. It’s funny. I went onto the www and did a quick search on Epps. Found the same lame story you did. I meant to say in my initial response: “And don’t just do a quick Internet search on some left-wing biased paper like the NYT.” Ah, but you of course did so, and infer that you know what’s going on. How about doing some real research besides a one-minute (literally) search on Google? Painting Epps like a victim is such a joke. He was caught on video calling for people to “GO INTO THE CAPITOL,” and he is the victim now? Poor guy. Inciting violence? Not a crime? What a propaganda sham. Possibly the real victims are the number of people WHO WERE INVITED IN by the Capitol “police,” who were taking selfies with the Capitol “police” and who still reside in jail, without a speedy trial, without due process, sometimes in solitary confinement, used as political pawns for a party that cares more about its agenda than the rights of the citizens. Do your research Couper.

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    1. Oh sure Mr. Ellis. Tell that to the cops who had committed suicide. Or the cop who testified before the committee where he talks about how he has been shunned by his fellow officers. You guys/gals are like the military. You turn on each other real fast and all this talk about brotherhood, comradeship, etc. goes out the door.

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  2. I don’t like cops getting injured or killed; however, let’s face reality. If crime didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have a need for the police, the justice system, the DA”s office, and prisons. Also, cops need to be reminded that they took an oath to protect the public and uphold the constitution even if it means laying down their lives just like people who join the military and took and oath to defend the country. If they didn’t know what they were getting into, then they have only themselves to blame for it.

    Cops in some ways are lucky that they are not treated as a military force because when you hear stories about military people not doing their jobs, they get court-martial and either get a prison sentence or get executed. If cops were a military force, many of them would have been court-martial and executed for cowardice in the face of the enemy for not responding to 911 calls or not doing anything once they arrived on the scene. The events at the Parkland shootings and at the Uvalde school in Texas would have resulted in a number of police officers being executed if they were soldiers on the battlefield. Those higher-level cops on the Washington DC police force on 1/6 would have been court-martial; however, like in the military, they would have not face any kind of punishment. Different spanks for different ranks as they say in the military.

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