Officer Eugene Goodman to make history with Congressional Gold Medal

846

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would introduce legislation to award Goodman and his fellow Capitol Police officers who responded to the Jan. 6 riots.

Officer Eugene Goodman and the U.S. Capitol Police who protected lawmakers and their staff during the Jan. 6 insurrection are set to make history as the first Capitol law enforcement officers to ever receive the Congressional Gold Medal for active duty service.

On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she would introduce legislation to honor the Capitol Police and other law enforcement personnel for responding to the violent riots that day.

At least 140 officers were injured as a result of that attack, which killed five people.

Pelosi (D-CA) noted that the officers had shown "outstanding heroism and patriotism" calling them "heroes" for saving lives.

"[They] demand our deepest appreciation. ... We must never forget the sacrifice of [Capitol Police] Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, MPD (Metropolitan Police Department) Officer Jeffrey Smith, and the more than 50 USCP who sustained serious injuries, or the courage of the heroes such as Officer Eugene Goodman," Pelosi said.

Sicknick died from "injuries sustained while on duty." Officials said he had been attacked and beaten with a fire extinguisher. Liebengood and Smith "took their own lives in the aftermath of the battle" at the Capitol, according to officials.

Goodman has been specifically praised for his part in averting further tragedy. In a now-viral video, Goodman is seen leading a group of extremists away from the Senate chambers. On Tuesday, House managers overseeing the impeachment case against Donald Trump — who is facing his second trial for incitement of insurrection after provoking the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 — showed further footage of Goodman directing Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who was inadvertently heading toward the mob, to turn back the other way to safety.

Romney told reporters he had "expressed my appreciation for him coming to my aid and ... for all that he did that day."

"It was obviously very troubling to see the great violence that our Capitol Police and others were subjected to," the Utah senator added. "It tears at your heart and brings tears to your eyes. That was overwhelmingly distressing and emotional."

Lawmakers from both the House and Senate have backed legislation to honor Goodman and the Capitol Police officers with the Congressional Gold Medal, the "highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions," according to the House history and archives site.

"He's a hero," said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL). "Officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between the mob and the United States Senate. I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman’s fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country. ... [T]he patriotism and heroics of Officer Eugene Goodman renew my faith and remind us all what truly makes the United States great."

If awarded the medal, Goodman and the Capitol Police officers would be the first ones in history to receive the distinction for their active duty service, according to the House Office of the Historian's list of past recipients.

The list includes larger groups of honorees, such as the Office of Strategic Services, Crew of the USS Indianapolis, and U.S. Merchant Mariners of WWII, which may have included a recipient who later served as a Capitol Police officer, but none on that list were awarded specifically for Capitol Police service.

Pelosi heaped additional praise on the officers this week. "It has been such a sad time for us, but as we see what is being presented, we also see the extraordinary valor of the Capitol Police, who risked and gave their lives to save our Capitol, our democracy, our lives," she said. "They are martyrs for our democracy, those who lost their lives."

"We want to honor them in the best way that we possibly can, and we will continue to do so beyond a medal ... in our hearts," the House speaker added.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.