Caroline Edwards, the first U.S. Capitol Police officer injured in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack, described the “carnage,” “chaos” and “absolute war zone” outside the building.
Edwards, who spoke Thursday before the House select committee investigating the attack, testified about the officers she saw hurt and her memories from the moment of her injury.
The officer, who suffered a concussion in the attack, said she was trained to detain “a couple of subjects” but not “handle a crowd” like the one she saw during the insurrection.
“That day it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat, hours of dealing with things that were way beyond [what] any law enforcement officer has ever trained for,” Edwards said.
“I just remember that moment of stepping behind the line and seeing the absolute war zone that the west front [of the Capitol] had become.”
During the prime-time hearing Thursday, Edwards also detailed a graphic account of officers “on the ground, bleeding” as she stood face-to-face with a mob looking to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by disrupting Congress.
″[Officers] were bleeding, they were throwing up… I saw friends with blood all over their faces, I was slipping in people’s blood,” Edwards said.
“I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage, it was chaos. I can’t even describe what I saw. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle.”
You can watch a portion of Edwards’ testimony below.
Liz Cheney, vice chair of the Jan. 6 committee, played several clips of the pro-Trump mob attacking officers outside the Capitol.
One clip shows rioters pushing a barricade and knocking Edwards unconscious onto a flight of stairs.
Another clip showed Brian Sicknick, a fellow U.S. Capitol Police officer who suffered two strokes and died Jan. 7, getting attacked by the mob.
Edwards, during her testimony, described her fellow officer “with his head in his hands” and “ghostly pale” after being hit with what prosecutors later determined was pepper spray.
She compared the color of his face to the color of a sheet of paper.
Edwards, the granddaughter of a Korean War veteran who she said fought for the U.S. in the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, said that some people questioned her loyalty to her country after the attack but that she believes her grandfather would be proud of her for standing “her ground” in the war zone she was thrust into on Jan. 6.
“I was an American standing face to face with other Americans asking myself many times, many, many times, how we had gotten here,” she said.