Policeman tells 6 January hearing he feared he would die

A police officer who defended the US Capitol during a riot by Donald Trump supporters on 6 January has said he feared he would be crushed by the mob. "This is how I'm going to die," a tearful Aquilino Gonell told a Congressional committee as an inquiry opened into the Washington DC attack. Another officer, Harry Dunn, who is black, said he was racially abused. At least 535 rioters have been arrested since the attack that left five dead, including one police officer.

Prosecutors have so far secured only a few convictions. The assault led to the political impeachment and acquittal of Republican Mr Trump, who was accused by lawmakers of inciting the riot - a claim he has repeatedly denied. The inquiry in the House Select committee is being conducted almost entirely by Democrats, after most Republicans boycotted the proceedings. However, two Republicans - Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger - have broken ranks to join the investigation.

"If those responsible are not held accountable... this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic," Ms Cheney said as the hearing began on Tuesday. The nine-member select committee was formed after Republicans objected to an independent commission such as the one that investigated the 11 September 2001 attacks. The panel - which has powers to summon witnesses - is expected to investigate the circumstances leading up to the riot and why law enforcement bodies were ill-prepared.

 

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