On January 6, Congress held a joint session to nationally recognize then-President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. A few blocks away, then-President Donald Trump spoke at a rally, repeating his lies that the 2020 election was "stolen" from him.
He urged his followers not to be "weak," and to walk over to the Capitol to make their voices heard, even assuring that he'd go with him.
In fact, Trump went back to the White House, but the supporters he prompted with his lies did walk to the Capitol.
The mob of pro-Trump extremists grew increasingly aggressive when they realized then-Vice President Mike Pence wouldn't be acquiescing to Trump's calls for him to unilaterally throw out the electoral votes of swing states Trump lost—a power he didn't have in the first place.
The mob of pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol, shattering windows, ransacking offices, smearing excrement across the walls, and calling for Pence's execution.
The lives of every lawmaker at the Capitol were endangered, but it was the Capitol Police who saw the most violence from the mob that day.
Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was sprayed with a type of mace during the riots, later died. In the days following, two Capitol police officers committed suicide. Another harrowing video shown at Trump's subsequent impeachment trial showed one officer pleading for help as the insurrectionists nearly crushed him in a door.
Trump was later acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial for inciting an insurrection, but with seven Republicans voting to convict him. Though Trump's trial is over, another trial may soon be beginning.
Two Capitol Police officers, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, have filed a 40 page lawsuit against Trump for inciting the riots, which resulted in ongoing physical and emotional stress for the two officers.
The suit says of Officer Blassingame:
"He is haunted by the memory of being attacked, and of the sensory impacts – the sights, sounds, smells and even tastes of the attack remain close to the surface. He experiences guilt of being unable to help his colleagues who were simultaneously being attacked; and of surviving where other colleagues did not."
And of Officer Hemby:
"Officer Hemby normally has a calm demeanor but has struggled to manage the emotional fallout from being relentlessly attacked. He has spoken with Employee Assistance Program counselors to talk about managing the emotional impact of being targeted and dealing with the level of aggression to which he was subjected."
Trump recently sparked outrage in a Fox News phone interview when he falsely claimed that rioters expressed good will toward police, even "hugging and kissing" them.
People soon expressed their support for Officers Blassingame and Hemby.
Good for them https://t.co/tiausx0rWm— Molly Jong-Fast🏡 (@Molly Jong-Fast🏡) 1617156223.0
I was wondering when this might happen. Glad to see it. https://t.co/NVfNvcYwIl— Rex Huppke (@Rex Huppke) 1617160585.0
Good. https://t.co/ykzJj2oWcF— Joe Walsh (@Joe Walsh) 1617156519.0
This is amazing. It will snowball from here. https://t.co/dxzsm3pdxe— Stacy, M.Ed (she/her) (@Stacy, M.Ed (she/her)) 1617156937.0
Good for them...and I hope they are joined by many https://t.co/FlHNwKgQ7y— Kodiak🆘 (@Kodiak🆘) 1617192984.0
Amid the revelations from the filing, social media users reminded their followers who was responsible for these riots and for the trauma of the officers.
This seems to have been forgotten by so many already, that Donald Trump was the SOLE reason for what happened on Ja… https://t.co/nGFpFjlHN8— S.V. Dáte (@S.V. Dáte) 1617156425.0
@Acosta If the members of Congress won’t hold Trump responsible. Those that defended it have every right to hold th… https://t.co/1T4rEozrBU— Them Ol’ U.S. Blues (@Them Ol’ U.S. Blues) 1617190611.0
@Acosta Yep, he should. IMO he is liable for what happened, either criminal or civil liability.— Radman 🇺🇸🇨🇿🇩🇪🇪🇺 (@Radman 🇺🇸🇨🇿🇩🇪🇪🇺) 1617190446.0
@Acosta Trump should be held responsible. I hope more lawsuits follow. Along with criminal investigations that sho… https://t.co/aQvhHvWtE7— Elaine 🥀 (@Elaine 🥀) 1617190429.0
Trump has yet to issue a response.