Among the many deeply disturbing facets of the Capitol insurrection was precisely how close the angry, violent mob was to members of Congress. One story to emerge from the chaos was the effort of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who potentially saved lives by leading the rioters away from the Senate chamber.
Goodman’s bravery—particularly as a Black man standing alone in the face of a white throng that included Proud Boys and neo-Nazis—earned him not only a promotion, but the chance to help escort Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, as she was sworn in Wednesday.
Goodman’s actions were caught in a reporter’s video as the mob flooded into the Capitol. Initially, he’s seen standing them down, but when it becomes clear that that won’t work, he lures them away from the chamber like Dr. Ian Malcolm lured the T-Rex away from the kids in Jurassic Park. This bought lawmakers enough time to escape before the rioters could enter.
If not for Goodman the whole situation—which as it is left five people dead and countless others injured—could have been even worse, Kirk D. Burkhalter, a professor at New York Law School and a former New York City police officer, told the Washington Post:
“These folks had zip ties,” he said, referencing images of the rioters holding zip-tie handcuffs that have emerged since the attack. “It’s not unreasonable to say that they were ready to take hostages. . . . Officer Goodman really helped to avoid a tremendous tragedy.”
Members of Congress from both parties have introduced legislation that would award Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal.