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A Police Officer on duty during the Capitol attack has spoken exclusively to UNILAD TV about the terrifying moment that Trump Supporters stormed the Capitol. Officer Winston Pingeon was patrolling the Senate area of the Capitol when fellow Police Officer Sicknick and four other protestors died during the brutal riot.
On 6 January 2021, President Trump delivered a speech to supporters in Washington. Around 15 minutes into his talk, he urged his supporters to march into the Capitol to refuse the “brazen and outrageous election theft.” The “peaceful” march would soon turn fatal - with five people dying and over 140 police officers becoming injured as a result.
Despite Winston’s squad banding together against the rioters, they were “so greatly outnumbered that it felt like the whole building became surrounded. It was very frightening.”
His fellow squad members pushed forward in an attempt to stop the Trump supporters, but they ended up being attacked themselves. “That’s when I was struck in the face and then knocked back,” he recalled.
“I was on my back and my helmet had come down, or someone was on top of me and I just couldn’t see anything.” It was at that moment during the terrifying ordeal that Winston realised, “I might not make it home alive today.
“There was one individual who was tormenting and teasing us, saying, ‘we’re getting in that building’ and I remember thinking ‘no you’re not, there’s no way you’ll be able to be that brazen and that aggressive to actually make it past us’, but he was right unfortunately.”
“Some people have asked me, ‘why didn’t we start shooting?’ You have sixteen bullets in that gun, there’s a thousand people, what are you gonna do? How are you gonna stop them?”
Even one year on, Winston struggles to comprehend how badly the situation spiralled out of control.
“I went over to that office in the Senate area of the Capital to… the tunnel which leads out to the inauguration stage where some of the worst fighting occurred. Some officers were attacked so brutally that it was really unimaginable.”
“Ripping gas masks off their faces, spraying their face with things like WD40, motor oil, pepper spray, and then pushing the gas mask back on their face and covering the filter so that it’s basically suffocating them. They had to breathe in what they were sprayed with.”
“Really anything they had on them, they were using against us.”
“I remember standing on the inauguration stage at the Upper West Terrace at that point and seeing how the crowd had diminished and thankfully our law enforcement partners were there and were continuing to push them back. I think at that point the National Guard arrived, just painfully too late.”
He began to choke up during the interview with UNILAD TV after recalling the moment he found out his colleague Officer Sicknick had died.
“It was such a punch in the gut to all of us to have politicians downplay and diminish the events of the day when so many of us literally shed blood to protect them. It’s incredibly frustrating and infuriating.”
“I hope that people realise how bad it was and how much worse it could have been, but that out democracy is fragile as evidenced by that day.”
Since the events of that fateful day, 130 police officers have since left the Capitol Police Force, including Winston. In the last year, four officers have taken their own lives.
Over 700 people in more than 40 states have been charged in The Capitol insurrection.
You can watch the full interview with Winston Pingeon on our YouTube channel or in the video above.
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