Three lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Capitol police officer who lured away an angry mob during the riot last week.
Officer Eugene Goodman was hailed as a hero after video went viral of him leading a mob of white men away from the Senate floor, potentially saving lives. Reps. Charlie Crist (D-Fla.), Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) and Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) introduced the bill and expressed gratitude Thursday for Goodman’s “bravery and quick thinking.”
“He’s a hero!” Crist said in a statement. “The United States Capitol was under attack by armed, violent extremists, and officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between the mob and the United States Senate.”
In the footage, Goodman, who is Black, pushes the leader of the pack, a man wearing a black QAnon shirt later identified as Doug Jensen from Des Moines. Jensen, who was armed with a baton, was focused on Goodman and appeared not to notice the open hallway leading to the Senate chambers.
Jensen chased Goodman, who led him and the mob away from the Senate floor. The group followed him into a group of police in a back corridor outside the Senate. Jensen was later arrested by the FBI on five federal charges.
“When he was the only thing standing between members of Congress and the violent mob, he quickly and selflessly redirected their fury upon himself so those members could escape,” Mace said. “Thanks to his valor, we are here today. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank him enough for his bravery and for his dedication to the call of duty.”
The Congressional Gold Medal is considered the “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions,” according to the House of Representatives.
It has been awarded to 177 people, including citizens who participated in the American Revolution, entertainers, authors, athletes, humanitarians, academics, pioneers in aeronautics and space, and “lifesavers.”
The bill must be approved by two-thirds of both chambers of Congress and then considered by committees before it is granted final approval.
Contributing: John Bacon, USA TODAY
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