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Plain clothes narcotics detective Michael Fanone was on desk duty when he heard the mob and decided to don his brand new police uniform for the first time, before running to the Capitol building.
But officers were vastly outnumbered and the 40-year-old was slammed to the ground, beaten and tasered.
Speaking to CNN, he said: "I remember guys were stripping me of my gear, these rioters - pulling my badge off my chest, they ripped my radio off my vest, started pulling ammunition magazines from their holder on my belt.
"And then some guy started getting a hold of my gun and they were screaming out, 'Kill him with his own gun'."
At this point, Fanone feared for his life and he had to quickly weigh up his options.
The father-of-four said: "It was just self preservation, how do I survive this situation?
"I thought about using deadly force, I thought about shooting people, and then I just came to the conclusion that if I was to do that, I might get a few, but I'm not gonna take everybody and they'll probably take my gun away from me - and that would definitely give them the justification that they were looking for to kill me. If they already didn't have (sic) made that up in their minds.
"The other option I thought of was to try and appeal to somebody's humanity, and I just remember yelling out that I have kids. It seemed to work, some people in the crowd started to encircle me and try to offer me some level of protection."
The protective ring formed around Fanone gave his partner and other officers time to get him away from the angry mob and out to safety.
Had they not helped him, it could have turned out a lot worse; but equally, it was the rioters who put his life at risk in the first place.
Summarising his conflicting feelings, Fanone said: "A lot of people have asked me my thoughts on the individuals in the crowd that helped me or tried to offer some assistance. I think the conclusion I've come to is - thank you, but f*ck you for being there."
Five people were killed in the riots, including police officer Brian Sicknick.
Donald Trump has now been impeached for a second time, charged with inciting the riot.
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