The Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol building by a pro-Trump mob left a police officer and a rioter dead. More than 50 members of the U.S. Capitol Police were injured, including 15 who required hospitalization, most of them with head wounds, according to Representative Tim Ryan, Democrat of Ohio.
Of all the scenes of violence, one of the most intense occurred during a struggle to breach a west-side door, during which multiple rioters dragged police officers out of a formation and assaulted them while they were trapped in the crowd.
There was widespread speculation on social media that one of the officers was Brian Sicknick — the U.S. Capitol Police officer who died after being hit in the head by a rioter wielding a fire extinguisher. But videos show the officers involved in this incident were members of the Metropolitan Police Department.
Here’s how the assault happened.
Shortly after 2 p.m., the mob on the Capitol’s west side forced its way through the final, thinly-defended police barricades and reached the building’s walls.
Hundreds of rioters swarmed toward a west-side doorway that’s traditionally used when presidents emerge for their inauguration ceremonies.
They surged into the doorway, and an hours-long fight to breach the Capitol began.
Not long after the start of the struggle, rioters were captured on video pulling a Metropolitan Police officer down the stairs. In a video, some rioters can be heard urging others not to hurt him.
News photographers on the scene captured images of the officer caught in the crowd, which began chanting “police stand down!”
The mob pulled the officer away, and rioters continued to try to force their way past the police defending the doorway.
They climbed on top of each other to attack the officers with stolen Capitol Police shields, sticks and poles.
During a brief lull, some rioters appeared to give up and retreat down the stairway.
But a new group lunged toward the police and started a new attack. At the front of the mob, they exchanged blows with the police and struck officers with hockey sticks, crutches and flags. Some rioters shouted “Push! Push!”
One of the attackers, a man wearing a white and blue hat and a green jacket, reached into the doorway, grabbed an officer and dragged him out, aided by a man in a gray hooded sweatshirt.
As they pulled the officer down the stairs, face down, another rioter beat him with an American flag as the mob chanted “USA! USA! USA!”
Seconds later, two other men — one wearing a red hat and tactical vest bearing a “sheriff” patch — began yanking the legs of another officer who had fallen to the ground.
With the aid of a third man in a gray jacket, they pulled the officer down the steps as well. One rioter appeared to punch him while he was on the ground.
One of the two dragged officers can be seen in another video standing up before being mobbed and punched.
Some rioters called on others not to hurt him as the mob led him away.
The Times sent an image to the Metropolitan Police Department of one of the officers whose helmet number is clearly visible on video. Dustin Sternbeck, a spokesman for the department, said he did not want to try to identify the officer because many may have put on other officers’ helmets.
Sternbeck said he hoped more officers would be able to share their stories with the public soon. “They just feel beaten up,” Sternbeck said.
At least three of the individuals who can be seen dragging the officers in the videos match images included on a Metropolitan Police list of “persons of interest.”
They are suspected of assaulting police officers and could face federal charges.
Christiaan Triebert, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Haley Willis contributed reporting.