Capitol Police officer stands up to Mike Pence for downplaying Jan. 6 insurrection

"It's mind-boggling to hear some of the things that are coming from some of these elected officials"

By Meaghan Ellis

Published December 31, 2021 1:46PM (EST)

Mike Pence (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
Mike Pence (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer is laying out his grievances about the lenient sentences riot suspects are facing for their participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Speaking to NPR.org, U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell described the scene he was faced with on Jan. 6 while stationed on the west entrance to the Capitol. According to Gonnell, the scene was similar to a "medieval battleground."

He also made it clear that he believes the sentences are not harsh enough considering the trauma Capitol rioters inflicted on him and other members of law enforcement.


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"Their jail time is less than my recovery time," said Gonell, who is still recovering from a shoulder injury. "The charges they're getting do not compare to the mental and physical injuries some of the police officers, including myself, got."

On Twitter, Gonell was critical of former Vice President Mike Pence, who has downplayed the attack that targeted him:

But despite the trauma he endured, he also said that he would do it again if he had to.

"It's mind-boggling to hear some of the things that are coming from some of these elected officials, Gonell said. "But at the end of the day, our job is to make them safe and make their work environment safer, regardless of our opinion or political affiliation."

As a result of all that transpired on Jan. 6, several hundred individuals were arrested for storming the Capitol. Even now, Gonnell has admitted how difficult it is to see the lawmakers who supported their efforts.

"We risked our lives to give them enough time to get to safety. And allegedly, some of them were in communication with some of the rioters and with some of the coordinators or in the know of what would happen," Gonell said. "And it makes you question their motives and their loyalty for the country, as we were battling the mob in a brutal battle where I could have lost my life and my dear fellow officers, as well."

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Alternet Aquilino Gonell Capitol Police Capitol Riot January 6 Mike Pence