President Joe Biden on Thursday signed a bill to award congressional gold medals to police departments that responded to the deadly Jan.6 attack on the United States Capitol.
The gold medal, the nation’s highest Congressional honor, will be awarded to the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC. A third gold medal will be presented to the Smithsonian Institution, which will be on display along with a plaque listing all of the law enforcement agencies that have stood up for the Capitol. A fourth will be awarded to the architect of the Capitol, the federal agency that maintains the building.
Biden signed the bill following a unanimous Senate vote on Wednesday to move forward with honor. Senators voted unanimously in February to present a gold medal to Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who was captured on video by HuffPost’s Igor Bobic leading a violent crowd of Donald Trump supporters away from the Senate Chamber on the day of the attack.
“No one had ever – ever called me ‘n **** r’ wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer” until Jan. 6, Capitol Officer Henry Dunn said at the ‘testimony in July before a select House committee investigating the attack. .
In a ceremony for the signing of the bill Thursday, Biden praised the officers who responded and described the attack as an insurgency.
“I know every time you put on that shield in the morning, every time you show up for work, your families are wondering if they’re going to get a call that day, a call they don’t want to receive, hoping that you will come home safe, “Biden said.” It breaks my heart. It breaks the heart of the nation, to remember that you were assaulted by thousands of violent insurgents on the Capitol Hill in the United States of America.
In June, the House gold medal bill was approved by 406 lawmakers on both sides and opposed by 21 Republicans. Majority Leader Senator Chuck Schumer (DN.Y.) lambasted these GOP blockages earlier this week.
“The same people who shouted the loudest about the dangers of police funding refused to defend the police, the same police who shielded them from the vicious crowd on January 6,” Schumer said. “For my life, I don’t know how they sleep at night.”
Despite the accolades, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding the police response on January 6. Capitol Police rejected offers of further assistance ahead of the attack despite warnings of potential violence, and a June Senate report detailed the major law enforcement failures surrounding the attack. Capitol Police also launched an investigation of dozens of its own officers into their actions on January 6 and suspended six of them in February.
Authorities have still not identified a person who placed two homemade bombs outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee the night before the attack.