Nearly five months after the January 6 Capitol riot, at least 17 police officers remain out of work due to injuries sustained during the attack.
At least 10 Capitol Police officers were out with injuries as of Thursday, according to a source on Capitol Hill and at the police union, while as of Friday, seven members of the D.C. Metropolitan Police force remained in a “less than full duty status” due to the events of the riot, a police spokesperson said.
In total, more than 150 officers were injured in the attack: 86 Capitol Police officers reported injuries, the sources said, along with 65 members of the Metropolitan Police Department, Chief Robert Contee testified in January. Contee also said that even more D.C. police officers sustained injuries they “did not even bother to report,” including scratches, bruises and eyes burned from chemical spray.
The officers’ lingering injuries add strain to an already understaffed Capitol Police force. A recent inspector general report found the department did not have “adequate resources” to analyze and investigate threats, and a separate security review recommended the police force hire more than 1,000 new officers to address staffing shortages.
Violence that day left officers with head wounds, cracked ribs and smashed spinal disks, according to Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Gus Papathanasiou. Court documents in the federal criminal investigation describe a number of alleged assaults that sent officers to the hospital.
One Metropolitan Police officer, identified in court documents only as “A.W.” said he was pulled into the crowd, kicked, hit with poles and stomped on by several individuals. He emerged from the crowd bleeding from his head, with a laceration that required two staples to close.
Riot defendant and former Green Beret Jeffrey McKellop allegedly assaulted four officers, shoving a flagpole into an officer’s face and then throwing it like a “spear,” causing a laceration near the officer’s left eye, prosecutors said. McKellop has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Officer Mike Fanone, a D.C. Metropolitan police officer, penned a letter in May about his ongoing trauma after he was pulled into a crowd, beaten and repeatedly Tased on January 6. Prosecutors have said that as a result of being attacked in the crowd, Fanone lost consciousness and was subsequently hospitalized for his injuries.
“Since then I have struggled with many aspects of that day. As the physical injuries gradually subsided,” Fanone wrote, “in crept the psychological trauma.”
A congressional source told CBS News, “Keep in mind that PTSD experienced by officers as a result can be reported as injuries after the fact so the number could go up.”