Images captured by HuffPost political journalist Igor Bobic went viral over the past week, prompting people around the world to praise officials as heroes. The US Congress police did not identify him publicly. But three of his friends told the Washington Post that the official, Maryland’s Eugene Goodman, confirmed what journalists at CNN and elsewhere reported.
For a tense 85 seconds, Goodman tried to hold off dozens of rioters, stepping up the stairs twice. Police experts said he did not escape. But lured the crowds out of the Senate chambers, where lawmakers sheltered, and armed officials, including those with semi-automatic weapons, were closing the doors.
His actions would likely hinder what could be a serious confrontation, said Kirk D.Burkhalter, a professor at New York Law School and a former New York City police officer, in an interview.
“These men have laces,”; he said, referring to images of ziplocked rioters that have occurred since the attacks. “It is not unreasonable to say that they are ready to take hostage … Goodman really helped avoid a great tragedy. “
Friends who spoke to Goodman since the riot, along with two fellow officers and former colleagues, said he was confused about the limelight. Typically private and reserved, DC residents are beginning to worry about being targeted by far-right extremists who vow to return to DC this weekend and for their inauguration next week.
“He said he would do the same thing again. He’s not looking for any awards, ”said a friend, the Capital Police Officer, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak on the issue,” but the attention was a little scary to him. “
Neither Goodman nor a Capitol Police spokeswoman responded to a request for an interview.
Goodman, 40, grew up in southeastern Washington and served in the military from 2002 to 2006, serving one year with the 101st Airborne Division to Iraq, said Cynthia Smith, a spokeswoman for the service. He’s the infantry badge that indicates he is in ground combat.
Those who knew Goodman said his decision to take the rioters out rather than get involved directly was a reflection of his military experience.
“He diverted people from going up to the Senate floor and taking them hostage. It was the smartest thing he could ever do, ”his colleague said.“ I don’t know a lot of people who could think that way… his quick thinking helped keep those senators safe. ”
Goodman’s close friend, who asked to be identified by his surname, Terry, for fear of becoming the target of far-right extremists, said the officer had a reputation for being a calm leader in emergency situations.
“I’ve always said that if a bullet starts tearing, I’ll find Goodman,” the friend said to Goodman many times since the incident. “He’s in a hostile fire fight, so he knows how to keep his head. he”
Burkhalter, a New York professor, said Goodman appears in the video to perform three tactics at once: taking rioters out of the Senate chamber, coordinating backups on the second-floor platform, and taking extreme restraint to prevent injury or loss. Of life.
In the first part of the video, when Goodman retreated up the stairs, he briefly turned his back on the rioters, Burkhalter said, for the most part he backed away, looking at the crowd, suggesting he wasn’t running away from them. But try to get them somewhere. When Goodman reached the second floor platform, he glanced over to the left where the entrance to the Senate chamber was located.
At this point, he decided to take a risk, Burkhalter said.He opened up his foldable baton, which had previously fallen to the ground, and gently pushed the man who led the rioters, later identified as Doug Jensen from Des Moines Jane. Jensen looked short to the left and followed Goodman, who was walking out of the Senate chamber and toward the reserve.
“In pushing him, the insurgent leader, he tried to get him to follow,” Burkhalter said. “He tried to lure them.”
Bobic, the journalist who filmed the video, said he realized days after the attack that the Senate doors were sealed just minutes before Goodman lured the rioters away “if they walked to the right instead of the left.” Bobic said in an interview the intruders may have reached lawmakers.
Keith Taylor, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and another former New York City police officer who reviewed the video, said Goodman demonstrated significant situational awareness. Even as he spoke and beckoned the rioters But he communicated with colleagues via the radio attached to his uniform, Taylor said, providing updates on where he was and where he was headed.
At the end of the video, he appears to be taking the rioters to another area where several other officers are prepared for their resistance. The crowd could be heard yelling at Goodman and the rest of the guards and calling them “traitors”.
Goodman’s restraint was also notable, Burkhalter said, as the attackers had raided the mostly white and confederate parliament building. Many have been identified as members of white nationalist organizations and rebellious right-wing organizations such as the Proud Boys.
Usually, Burkhalter says that when blacks are stalked by a white by a Confederate flag, it “doesn’t end well for blacks.”
Terry, who is white, said he and Goodman talked about race and about the conflicts that Goodman felt was a black law enforcement officer. “For him it was often the same. that ‘I’m too black for the badge. But it’s too blue for the siblings, ”said Terry.
The video received rave reviews from Goodman online.Ben Crump, lawyers for George Floyd and Breonna Taylor tweeted that Goodman should be awarded the Medal of Valor, Public Safety Officer Sen. Robert P. Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.) Said Congress “owed him” and former Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, who challenged Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) in South Carolina, declared “Goodman’s judgment and courage.” May help our republic “
Bobic said that if he met Goodman, he would like to convey hundreds of thousands of messages he has received from people around the world about the video. But he wanted to personally thank him for protecting him.
“If he wasn’t there,” Bobic said, “I would have run flat feet into the crowd.”
Goodman’s attitude to his job has remained the same, despite his newfound reputation, his friend said, adding that during the attack he was focused on refuting the threat to lawmakers, not on his own safety.
“My job is to protect and serve,” he told colleagues after his video went viral, “and I was protecting that day.”
Dan Lamothe and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.