A Capitol police officer hailed as a hero for his actions during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol today accompanied Vice President Kamala Harris at the inauguration of Harris and President Joe Biden.
Officer Eugene Goodman confronted the insurrectionists and led them away from Senate chambers moments after Vice President Mike Pence was escorted from the Senate chamber as the rioters stormed the Capitol.
Goodman is a Black man and was facing an overwhelmingly white mob. He is the only officer seen for a full minute on widely circulated footage captured by a news reporter. Goodman stands in front of the rioters and walks backward as the group follows him to a second-floor hallway, where other officers finally assist him.
A police spokeswoman said Goodman's plainclothes assignment to accompany Harris "is a ceremonial role.″
When Goodman made his appearance today he received a standing ovation and was announced as the new Acting Deputy House Sergeant at Arms.
Twitter users celebrated Goodman's role in today's events.
On January 6, as rioters stormed the Capitol, Goodman led the mob away from the unprotected senate chamber, buying legislators precious time.
Goodman, a Black man facing an overwhelmingly white mob, is the only officer seen for a full minute of the footage, shot by reporter Igor Bobic of HuffPost.
Goodman stands in front of the rioters, walks backward until he reaches a collapsible baton lying on the floor, and picks it up. "Back up ... back it up!" he yells, keeping his eyes on the mob. He turns and runs upstairs, waving the baton, as the group follows.
Goodman calls "second floor" into his radio, then takes a brief glance and half a step to his left at the top of the stairs. Two chairs sit on either side of an entrance to the U.S. Senate chamber, just a few steps away. Dozens of rioters are right in front of him, no other officers to be seen.
Goodman shoves one of the rioters and walks to the right, away from the chamber. The mob follows, and Goodman leads them to a room where other officers wait.
The time on the video is 2:14 p.m. The Senate stopped its proceedings to begin clearing the chamber at 2:15 p.m.
Five died in the riots, including one of Goodman's fellow officers. Legislative offices were trashed, gallows were built outside, and a video showed a woman shot dead while journalists, Congress members and staff hid.
The images of Goodman spread via social media and news sites, a foil to the bloody and messy scenes elsewhere at the Capitol. People called him brave, impressive, effective. They dissected the video, guessing about his strategy and decision-making.
But not all the commentary has been kind. Backing up and running away is weak, some said. It was a staged photo op, others alleged.
Online and in much of the public eye, Goodman is a hero. Plenty of people, famous and not, suggested he has earned the Medal of Honor. A Republican and two Democrats in the U.S. House introduced a bill Thursday to give him the Congressional Gold Medal.
"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," said Democratic U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri.
- AP , additional reporting, NZ Herald