As more video footage surfaces from the violent insurrection on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, one Black officer is being hailed as a hero for risking his life to keep lawmakers in the Senate chamber safe.
In a now viral video, Officer Eugene Goodman is seen leading an angry mob away from the doors of the chamber when he realizes they are unguarded and lawmakers are still inside, debating the electoral college votes.
Taken by Huffington Post’s political reporter Igor Bobic, the video shows Goodman repeatedly telling the rioters to “Back up” and trying to keep them at bay before they enter the building.
Once he realizes he can’t prevent the mob from entering, Goodman calls for backup and continues running up several flights of stairs. He periodically stops to try to beat them back.
When the mob is at the door that led to the Senate chamber and Goodman assesses the impending threat, he pushes the leader of the mob to provoke him and the others to follow him, then leads them away from lawmakers to an area where there are more officers.
The officers are still outnumbered, but continue to try to stop the mob. At one point, one of the rioters can be heard yelling, “We’re standing here for everyone who’s white! … This is our America!”
To date, the video has received over 10 million views with lawmakers and citizens from various backgrounds saying Goodman should be awarded the Public Safety Medal of Valor and the Medal of Honor for his bravery.
“Eugene Goodman deserves the Medal of Valor! He could have stepped aside and let Trump insurgents get to the Senate chamber while Senators were still there. Instead, this heroic officer got them to follow him the other direction, giving lawmakers time to escape!” tweeted famed civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump.
“He deserves a medal of honor … He saved all those people….. VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE….” added user @Veronic84157392.
“Eugene Goodman. That needs to be a household name. This brave Black man works for the Capitol Police and we now know his full story. As he stared down this mob, they were only about a hundred feet away from reaching congresspeople. They had not been secured yet. So this man TOOK ON THE WHOLE MOB of Trump supporters and led them on a wild chase away from the congresspeople,” activist Shaun King wrote on Facebook.
One Twitter user pointed out how tactical Goodman was.
“He didn’t just get back up. Listen to him radio backup and inform them where he was leading the terrorists. He was smart and tactical. His stopping was to make sure the group stayed together and followed him,” tweeted @mj_yourrealtor.
Another celebrated Goodman’s ability to do his job without shooting a single rioter.
“Eugene Goodman is a hero. Every time I watch the video I’m amazed at this man’s ability to process the threat to UNITED STATES SENATORS and figure out a way to protect them WITHOUT FIRING A SINGLE SHOT,” user @kenolin1 wrote.
According to CBS affiliate WUSA9, Goodman is an Army vet who spent time in Iraq. He has not commented publicly on the incident, and there are concerns his life is still under threat for his actions.
Many have criticized some of Goodman’s peers for handling the other protesters with kid gloves, including the sister of a Black mentally unstable woman who was shot to death by Capitol police seven years ago.
A petition to award Goodman the Medal of Honor had nearly 11,000 signatures at the time of publication. Some have said it should be an immediate action by President-elect Joe Biden once he is sworn in.
“Hero doesn’t even come close to describing what this brave man did in the face of tyranny and bigotry. I hope Biden gives this man the recognition he rightly deserves as soon as he takes office,” wrote Facebook user Ben Platt.