Mendoza’s compelling testimony came Tuesday at the start of the Senate contentious hearing into the intelligence and security failures of the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill.
“I made it to the Rotunda where I noticed a thick smoke-like residue and smelled what I thought was military grade CS gas – a familiar scent. It was mixed with a fire extinguisher in aerosol spray deployed by rioters. Rioters continued to deploy CS in the Rotunda, “said Mendoza, captain of the Special Operations Division.
“The officers have been exposed to the gas a lot, which is worse inside the building than outside because there is nowhere to go,” Mendoza added. “I received chemical burns on my face which have not yet been healed.”
Mendoza, who served in the United States Army and was a member of the United States Capitol Police for nearly 19 years, said that throughout her career she had worked on controversial events and that during the events, she had been called “so many names so many times. that I’m callous now.”
She also said that the riot at the United States Capitol, where nearly 140 officers were injured and one was killed, “was by far the worst of the worst” events in which she participated in her career. officer.
“We could have had 10 times as many people working with us and I still believe this battle would have been just as devastating,” Mendoza said.
“At one point my right arm got stuck between the rioters and the railing along the wall,” she said. “A sergeant (from DC Police) freed my arm and if he hadn’t, I’m sure it would have been broken.”
‘The officers begged me to relieve myself’
Mendoza told senators how she saw her fellow officers being struck by objects thrown by rioters and that after police cleared the rotunda, officers were required to physically keep the door of the Capitol closed as the rioters continued to fight. ‘try to enter the building.
“After a few hours, the police cleared the Rotunda but had to physically keep the door closed because it had been smashed by rioters,” Mendoza said. “The officers begged me to relieve myself as they didn’t know how long they could physically keep the door closed with the crowd continually knocking outside the door, trying to enter. Eventually, officers were able to secure the door with furniture and other items. “
Mendoza described how she was at home with her 10-year-old before being called just after 1:30 pm She joined her fellow officers who were already on the front lines.
“I am proud of the officers I worked with on January 6th. They fought extremely hard. I know some have said the battle lasted three hours, but according to my Fitbit, I was in the exercise area for 4 hours and nine minutes, and many officers were in combat even before I arrived. “