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Officer Eugene Goodman testifies at trial of Iowa man who led crowd that chased him up US Capitol stairs

Goodman was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal along with other officers who responded to defend the U.S. Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

WASHINGTON — A U.S. Capitol Police officer who led pro-Trump rioters away from where lawmakers were being evacuated testified Wednesday at the trial of an Iowa man who was at the front of the mob on Jan. 6.

Officer Eugene Goodman was called to the witness stand Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Douglas Jensen, a Des Moines resident on trial for multiple felony charges of obstruction, civil disorder and assaulting, resisting or impeding police. 

During opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors showed jurors video of Jensen at the front of a mob of angry rioters facing off with Goodman — who was alone and attempting to prevent them from moving further into the building through a doorway that led to stairs to the Senate Chamber.

"He just kept coming closer, kept accosting me," Goodman said of Jensen. "I felt like they were going to rush me at any time."

Goodman, a D.C. Native and U.S. Army veteran who served a combat deployment in Iraq, had already spent more than an hour on the front lines outside the building battling rioters attempting to enter the building. He testified Wednesday he'd both been bear maced and had depleted his own supply of pepper spray in the process. When he faced off with Jensen and other members of the mob, he had dropped his baton and was armed only with his service weapon, which he said he placed his hand on to show the rioters he was willing to use deadly force if necessary. But that, he said, didn't deter Jensen.

"I told him that if they attacked me or if they charged I was going to shoot," Goodman testified. "He said, 'Do what you gotta do.'"

Cell phone video shot by HuffPo reporter Igor Bobic shows Goodman stepping back to retrieve his baton and then leading the mob up a set of stairs away from a congressional evacuation route and toward the Ohio Clock Corridor outside the main entrance to the Senate, where he had last seen other officers. The video shows Jensen at the front of the mob chasing Goodman the entire way up the stairs — often far ahead of other rioters. Once on the second floor, prosecutors said, other video showed Jensen waving rioters forward and continuing to menace the police line.

Credit: Associated Press
Trump supporters gesture to U.S. Capitol Police in the hallway outside of the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Goodman was on the stand for a little more than two hours on Wednesday, almost all of it spent on direct examination from prosecutors. During his brief cross-examination, Jensen's attorney, Christopher Davis, asked if Goodman ever saw his client with a weapon — no — and described him as offering "passive resistance" to Goodman's repeated commands to leave the building.

Davis described his client to jurors during opening remarks as an unsophisticated man who had become consumed by the QAnon conspiracy theory which, he said, he "believed 100%." A key element of QAnon is the coming of "the storm," which is the day that former President Donald Trump will supposedly begin the mass arrest of members of a global cabal of child sex abusers, so-called deep state operatives and high-ranking Democrats. That, Davis said Tuesday, was what Jensen thought was happening on Jan. 6 — and that, he argued briefly during his opening, meant Jensen was not trying to impede Goodman or other officers, but rather to encourage them to arrest members of Congress and former Vice President Mike Pence, which he saw as their job.

On redirect, prosecutors asked Goodman if he felt Jensen was a threat.

"He was the one up front, accosting me the most," Goodman said.

In addition to single-handedly leading Jensen and other members of the mob to an area where he knew fellow police could help contain them, surveillance video discovered after the riot showed Goodman redirecting Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and his security detail moments before he would have come into contact with rioters. The U.S. Senate voted unanimously in February 2021 to award Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress' highest honor, although senators eventually reached an agreement with the U.S. House of Representatives to award the medal to all officers who responded on Jan. 6. Republican Sen. Charlie Crist (FL), one of three members of Congress who introduced the bipartisan bill to honor Goodman, hailed him last year as a hero.

“The United States Capitol was under attack by armed, violent extremists, and Officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between the mob and the United States Senate,” Crist said. “I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman’s fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country."

Goodman was one of seven witnesses expected to be called by prosecutors during Jensen's trial. Four of those, assistant U.S. attorney Emily Allen said Tuesday, would be officers who came face-to-face with Jensen on Jan. 6. It was not immediately clear whether Jensen intended to call any witnesses or take the stand on his own behalf. Testimony was expected to resume Thursday morning at 9 a.m.

We're tracking all of the arrests, charges and investigations into the January 6 assault on the Capitol. Sign up for our Capitol Breach Newsletter here so that you never miss an update.

   

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