This week, the second impeachment hearings of Donald Trump included new footage of the January 6 riots. As Democratic House managers made their case against the former president, viewers saw video evidence of dangerous moments as well as heroic ones. One of the names that circulated on Twitter and in the media is that of Officer Eugene Goodman, a Capitol Hill Police Officer who was caught on film acting courageously in two videos during his service at the U.S. Capitol on the day of the January riots.
The first video portrays Goodman diverting a mob as they enter the Capitol building. It was filmed by HuffPost political reporter Igor Bobic and went viral in January.
The Washington Post described the video:
For 85 tense seconds on Jan. 6, Goodman tried to hold back dozens of rioters…twice retreating up a flight of stairs. Police experts say he wasn’t fleeing, but luring the mob away from the Senate chambers, where lawmakers were sheltering and armed officers — including one with a semiautomatic weapon — were securing the doors.
Kirk D. Burkhalter, a professor at New York Law School and a former New York City police officer, told The Washington Post that Goodman’s actions likely preempted what could have been a violent confrontation.
After “people across the world hail[ed] the officer as a hero,” he was given a special duty. On January 20, Officer Goodman escorted Vice President Kamala Harris at the Inauguration of the 46th President of the United States.
The second video, widely distributed on Wednesday, shows an encounter between Goodman and Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT). Goodman leads the senator away from a group of rioters. Romney can be seen heading toward the group, but Goodman intersects him and tells him to go in the opposite direction, away from potential harm.
“I don’t think my family or my wife understood that I was as close as I might have been to real danger,” Mr. Romney told reporters on Thursday. “They were surprised and very, very appreciative of Officer Goodman, in his being there and directing me back to safety.”
The officer and senator could be seen talking after Romney saw the videos on Wednesday. Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio also reportedly walked over and fist-bumped Officer Goodman.
As reported by The New York Times:
“Veterans who served alongside Officer Goodman in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq some 15 years ago say that the officer, known then as ‘Goody,’ never craved accolades.”
Mark Belda served with Officer Goodman in Iraq, and commented on his behavior at the Inauguration. “I saw him come out in front of the vice president, and he immediately ducked to the right,” he said. “I thought, that’s definitely Goody.”
On Thursday, Speaker Pelosi mentioned Officer Goodman when she introduced bipartisan legislation to award the Capitol Police, among other law enforcement personnel who served on January 6, the Congressional Gold Medal. The medal is the highest honor of Congress.