Despite what they might think, the Trump-supporting insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol last week are not heroes. Neither are those Capitol police officers who took selfies, and gave directions to the seditionists as they entered the building — several of whom have been suspended or are under investigation for their actions on January 6. That doesn’t mean, however, that there weren’t people, and Capitol police officers, who displayed bravery while the Capitol was under siege. One of those men has been receiving national praise for his brave actions.
The appropriately named Eugene Goodman, an officer in the United States Capitol Police, was captured in a video taken by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic and posted while the takeover was happening. Bobic was inside the Capitol when he came upon Goodman, by himself, confronting a large crowd of rioters.
In the video, it quickly becomes clear that Goodman, despite his best efforts, can’t keep the crowd back. He begins to retreat up the stairs, and the rioters, both in awe that they’ve made it this far and clueless about the layout of the building, just kind of follow him.
Here’s the scary moment when protesters initially got into the building from the first floor and made their way outside Senate chamber. pic.twitter.com/CfVIBsgywK
— Igor Bobic (@igorbobic) January 6, 2021
What’s only clear if you’re familiar with the building is that when Goodman and the mob reach the first landing they’re essentially standing on the threshold of the Senate chamber. You can see him glance over, briefly stand with his back to it, and then realize that he can lead the mob away from the Senate. He shoves the first rioter in the front, keeping him distracted and following Goodman.
According to Reuters, Goodman’s effort gave police the time — literally precious seconds — needed to lock the doors to the Senate chamber so that lawmakers could escape a mob armed with guns, weapons, and zip ties. CNN’s Kristin Wilson was among the first to recognize the significance of his actions.
This moment in @igorbobic stunning footage. In front of the officer, coming up the stairs, is a mass of rioters. The USCP officer glances to his left. Between those two chairs is the entrance to the senate floor. He lured them to his right, away from their targets. pic.twitter.com/knjQQ4GZ0d
— Kristin Wilson (@kristin__wilson) January 10, 2021
Bernice King, a minister and the daughter of Martin Luther King, Jr., shared the museum-worthy photo of the event, taken by New York Times reporter Ashley Gilbertson, on Twitter.
Thank you, Officer Eugene Goodman.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 10, 2021
Officer Eugene Goodman stood between a mob of rioters and the unguarded United States Senate. His judgement and quick thinking led them in the opposite direction, saving the lives of Senators and quite literally an institution of democracy itself. A hero. pic.twitter.com/y5GLhXHV6T
— Sharif Street (@StreetForPA) January 10, 2021
Eugene Goodman. American hero. pic.twitter.com/Pei846zhT9
— Rep. Joe Neguse (@RepJoeNeguse) January 12, 2021