A viral video shows how the officer knowingly risked his own life to protect the lawmakers who were still inside when the rioters reached the open Senate chamber doors.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill to award Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal "for his bravery and quick thinking" during last week's deadly riots. Goodman, an Army veteran who served in Iraq before joining the police force, drew praise from many after a video of him purposefully baiting a mob of Trump supporters to chase him in the opposite direction of the Senate chamber doors, went viral on social media. The video taken by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic showed how the officer knowingly risked his own life to protect the lawmakers who were still inside when the rioters reached the open chamber doors.
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
The measure to honor Goodman for his bravery was introduced by Reps. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.), Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), and Charlie Crist (D-Fla.). "The actions of Officer Goodman were heroic and represent the best of law enforcement," Congresswoman Mace said in a statement. "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. 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."
Officer Eugene Goodman outnumbered, dozens to one, is being recognized for his heroic efforts to lure rioters away from the Senate Chambers last Wednesday during the insurrection. @LauraAJarrett @ChristineRomans pic.twitter.com/pyS9Za7nMh— CNN Early Start (@EarlyStart) January 11, 2021
"He's a hero!” said Congressman Crist. "The United States Capitol was under attack by armed, violent extremists, and this man, Officer Eugene Goodman, was the one thing standing between the mob and the United States Senate. I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman's fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country. While some will remember last Wednesday for the very worst in our country, the patriotism and heroics of Officer Eugene Goodman renew my faith and remind us all what truly makes the United States great."
#EugeneGoodman SayHisName before we all forget about this black hero. He used himself as bait by leading the rioters away from the Chambers. His name needs to be in the history books. He needs to be rewarded for his heroic actions. REPRESENTATION MATTERS. THIS BLACK HERO MATTERS pic.twitter.com/WM0WjJRseF— Primrose (@PrimroseNtumba) January 11, 2021
"In moments of crisis, there are always individuals who rise to the occasion and put themselves in harm’s way in defense of others. On January 6, 2021, one of those individuals was Officer Eugene Goodman," said Congressman Cleaver. "If not for the quick, decisive, and heroic actions from Officer Goodman, the tragedy of last week's insurrection could have multiplied in magnitude to levels never before seen in American history. With this prestigious award, we can show our gratitude to Officer Goodman for saving countless lives and defending our democracy."
Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman is rightfully being hailed as a hero after singlehandedly holding back rioters from entering the Senate chambers last week.— XVIII Airborne Corps (@18airbornecorps) January 14, 2021
An Iraq combat vet and member of this Corps, Eugene was a hero long before last Wednesday.
We celebrate his valor. pic.twitter.com/CLWlLG3bIW
Speaking to ABC News about Goodman's thought process in that stressful situation, former Capitol Police Officer Larry Schaefer said that he made the right call. "So just get in the mindset of the officer, how many people were in that hallway? Was his life in jeopardy? Did he feel like his life was in jeopardy? If he would have pulled out his gun and started shooting, how many people would he have continued to have to shoot in order to stop that whole crowd? Would that have been effective to stop the whole crowd or would he have still had to turn around and run? So you have to get into the mentality of an officer and think about the decisions that they make in that spur of the moment," Schaefer explained.
Last Wednesday, I was inside the Senate chamber when Officer Eugene Goodman led an angry mob away from it at great personal risk. His quick thinking and decisive action that day likely saved lives, and we owe him a debt of gratitude. https://t.co/meMLbXW8Z5— Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) January 11, 2021
"He gave up ground because understand, under U.S. code, our mission for Capitol Police -- it's to protect the members of Congress. Not the building, technically, not the staff and not the visitors, technically -- but as an ancillary, we do protect the building, the grounds, the staff, and the visitors as part of our mission. But primarily, our mission for continuity of government is to protect the members of Congress," Schaefer added. Friends of Goodman's told The Washington Post that while he is concerned about becoming a target of the extremist groups involved in the riot, he said he would do the same thing again it came down to it.