Capitol Police officer turned congressional candidate: What to know about Harry Dunn

Capitol Police officer turned congressional candidate: What to know about Harry Dunn

After 15 years on the force, the Capitol Police officer who became known for his emotional congressional testimony about the Jan. 6 insurrection is running for Congress.

Harry Dunn announced Friday that he’s running as a Democrat for Maryland’s 3rd District, emphasizing in an interview with POLITICO his need to “protect, defend, and preserve democracy” after the insurrection.

Dunn, 40, was one of just four officers who testified at the House select committee hearings in 2021. Here is a look back at how he’s spoken out about the riot ever since:

Experience during the Jan. 6 insurrection

Stationed inside the Capitol wearing heavy body armor and wielding an M4, Dunn experienced a “torrent” of racial abuse from rioters he faced off with during the insurrection. He was called racial slurs including the N-word after he felt prompted to tell the mob he had voted for Joe Biden.

“No one had ever, ever called me a n—– while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police officer,” Dunn would later recall at the House select committee hearings on Jan. 6.

Dunn was active at the site of the most extreme and protracted violence of the riot, defending a stairwell that led to the Lower West Terrace.

He then arrived outside then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office, where he was confronted with members of the Oath Keepers — including Florida leaders Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson — while trying to keep rioters out of Pelosi’s office.

“They tried to get past me. And I stopped them,” he testified.

Jan. 6 congressional hearings

The first select committee hearing in July 2021, during which Dunn testified, gave the first public testimonies from officers who were on the front lines of the riot.

Rioters hurled racial slurs at him and other officers, Dunn told the select panel, adding that he later heard from other officers who shared similar stories from their confrontations with the pro-Trump mob.

“I know so many other officers continue to hurt both physically and emotionally,” Dunn said during testimony. “What we went through that day was traumatic.”

Dunn spoke of the lingering trauma and shared that he has sought counseling in the aftermath of the insurrection and encouraged other officers to do so as well. The emotional toll from the events that unfolded on Jan. 6 still impacts Dunn, who has said he struggles with PTSD.

During his testimony, Dunn implored the select panel to review resources available to officers and “consider whether they are sufficient enough” as they recover from Jan. 6. He went on to attend all of the Jan. 6 select panel’s public hearings.

Criticizing Trump for Jan. 6

Dunn has gained sizable social media followings, frequently posting his views about Jan. 6 and its political fallout.

“Great job America for holding him accountable for documents, but its time to do jan 6. He’s hurt so many people and that shit gotta stop,” Dunn said in a June post presumably referring to former President Donald Trump.

Dunn later told NPRthat the rioters are ultimately responsible for their actions on Jan. 6, but he believes Trump “definitely bears responsibility for inciting it or emboldening these people to do it.”

Last year, Dunn was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Joe Biden and released a book about his experiences, called “Standing My Ground.”

Congressional bid

Now, almost three years after the Jan. 6 attack, Dunn is running for Congress in Maryland to succeed retiring Rep. John Sarbanes.

Dunn, who retired from the police force last month, joins a crowded race of five state lawmakers who have already announced their campaigns.

The congressional bid will be his first time running for elected office, outside of an unsuccessful bid to lead the Capitol Police union.

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