James Blassingame, a U.S. Capitol Police
officer, spoke to PBS
this week about his harrowing experience during the Jan. 6 insurgency and his disappointment in the aftermath, as conservative lawmakers attempt to change the narrative
about what happened.
aired on Wednesday, a day after a Senate
report revealed widespread security
failures prior to the attack
, including failures by top intelligence agencies to adequately warn law enforcement officials. It also came two weeks after Republicans
blocked a bipartisan commission
that would have looked into the deadly assault
by Donald Trump supporters
Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the U.S. Capitol Police, told PBS that he is still processing what happened and how it happened that day.
“It was an insurgency; there were a significant number of people
who felt aggrieved and believed that invading the Capitol to impose their will was an appropriate action,” he explained.
He described the mob as “a sort of — a horde of zombies, just people as far as the eye could see just salivating and... ”
In March, Blassingame and a colleague, Sidney Hemby, filed a lawsuit
against former President
Trump for physical
and emotional injuries they claim they sustained during the attack, accusing Trump of inciting and inflaming the rioters with baseless election fraud
claims that led to the insurgency.
Concerning the stalled commission, Blassingame stated that he and his colleagues had protected members of Congress
on Jan. 6, but he did not believe they had received the same level of protection.
“We did our job; no member of Congress was harmed, you know? And to have to see these people every day, and they don’t have our back, something as simple as just trying to figure out what happened so it doesn’t happen again.”
It was "disappointing," he said, that the story was being changed to "make it seem something other than what it was." Several Republican lawmakers have attempted to whitewash or minimize the riot.
“Just having a commission to find out what happened so this doesn't happen again,” he added.
“Because, again, I believe this is a very real threat going forward.”
Several Capitol and Washington
police officers have spoken out about their experiences in the aftermath of the attack, expressing similar concerns about efforts to shift the focus away from what happened that day.
Below is a link to PBS's coverage of the event.