CNN talking head Don Lemon had DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone on his show Tuesday night in what proved to be an emotional interview.
In featuring Fanone, who was one of the officers at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 when it was stormed by protesters, the liberal anchor explained to his viewers that the two of them have become “friends” since that fateful day when the officer was seen on video being pulled off the steps of the Capitol into the crowd.
Fanone suffered a heart attack and concussion in the protest and when asked how he was doing, the officer said “it’s been a roller coaster. It’s been up and down.”
“You know, I think probably for about the first two weeks after the 6th I was still, you know, riding pretty high on adrenaline. Shortly thereafter I started to experience some of the, I guess, more psychological injuries, PTSD, some of the emotional trauma from what I experienced that day,” he explained.
Further prodded on how he was doing, Fanone said some days are better than others and appeared to criticize former President Donald Trump, referencing comments he had made in regard to the incident.
“It’s been very difficult seeing elected officials and other individuals kind of whitewash the events of that day or downplay what happened,” he said. “Some of the terminology that was used like ‘hugs and kisses’ and, you know, ‘very fine people,’ it’s very different from what I experienced and what my co-workers experienced on the 6th.”
After saying he didn’t want to make the interview political, Lemon mischaracterized remarks made by Trump toward those who were not engaged in violence, asking his friend to respond to the rhetoric.
“I think it’s dangerous. It is very much not the experience that I had on the 6th. You know, I experienced a group of individuals that were trying to kill me to accomplish their goal. And I think that — sorry,” Fanone said, pausing as his emotions welled up. “Man, I didn’t think I’d get this emotional. Yeah, I experienced the most brutal, savage hand-to-hand combat of my entire life, let alone my policing career which spans almost two decades. It was nothing that I’d ever thought would be a part of my law enforcement career and nor was I prepared to experience.”
Keeping the focus on those who supported Trump, Lemon asked, “Why has it been so tough for you … did that [day] sort of change any sort of reality for you or any sort of perspective for you to see people who have professed so much love and adoration for law enforcement basically trying to kill you?”
Fanone responded to say he was “a pretty apolitical person,” likening politics to the Olympics in that it only comes every four years, before saying law enforcement officers have “been taking it on the chin for quite a while.”
“And with the previous administration, there was like a lot of pandering towards law enforcement and I was susceptible to that, I think like many of my colleagues were,” he added. “But I was — and to have a group of individuals or, you know, someone who espoused to be a law-and-order official or a law-and-order president and then experience what I experienced on the 6th, which, you know, I believe resulted from the rhetoric that was being used in the weeks leading up to January 6th, I mean, that was difficult to come to terms with.”
Lemon played the footage of Fanone being beaten and dragged out into the mob and asked the officer what he remembered from that moment?
“So, once I was separated from the group of officers that were in the tunnel, I was — I remember being pulled out into the crowd,” Fanone said. “I remember experiencing feelings like when you’re a kid, you’re at the beach and you get knocked down by a wave and then you get knocked down by another wave and you just can’t get up. That’s what it felt like.”
“I remember, once I was able to kind of steady myself, get my bearings, like I was just surrounded in this sea of people, rioters, and they just started attacking me from all directions,” he continued. “Guys were — you know, ripped my badge off, ripped my radio off, started grabbing at my firearm, trying to grab ammunition magazines from my belt. It was just — you know, it was overwhelming. I mean, I felt like they were trying to kill me.”
Asked if he thought he was going to die, Fanone replied, “I did. I thought that that was a distinct possibility. Yeah.”
He then explained the thought process he was going though in contemplating using deadly force.
“I remember thinking — you know, like identifying specific people in the crowd and thinking like, ‘Okay, this person is trying to kill me. I can use deadly force here.’ And then I remember thinking that, okay, if I do use deadly force against one or two of these individuals, there’s 15,000 people out here,” Fanone explained. “The likelihood of me surviving by using deadly force is not good. I think I had talked about previously it would have provided individuals that were there with the justification that I think they were looking for or had already, you know — [Bleep] . Sorry.”
His emotions getting the better of him, Fanone stopped mid-sentence.
After asking if he was okay, Lemon pushed on to ask if Fanone had a message.
“I know it’s tough. And we’ve talked about this. What do you want to say, Mike?” the CNN host asked.
Fanone described more of what happened that day, saying “how we managed to make it out of that day without more significant loss of life is a miracle,” adding that “it was the most brutal combat imaginable. It was like nothing I had ever seen outside of the movies.”
There were five deaths attributed to the storming of the Capitol, but only one death was directly related to what happened: Ashli Babbitt, the unarmed Air Force veteran who was shot and killed by a still unidentified Capital Police officer.
The media falsely reported that Capital Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed by rioters, who allegedly bludgeoned him with a fire extinguisher. For months later, it was announced he had two strokes and died from natural causes the following day.
The other three deaths involved Trump supporters, two reportedly from heart failure and one from an amphetamine overdose.
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