Three years ago Saturday, a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol in what President Joe Biden has claimed was the greatest threat to U.S. democracy since the Civil War.

In the aftermath of the riot, Molotov cocktails and a long guns were found on the grounds of the Capitol. Mobs of people sprayed officers with chemicals. One woman was fatally shot by a police officer, and another three people died near the Capitol after they suffered medical emergencies.  

Since that day, according to The New York Times, over 1,200 people have been arrested – some accused of crimes as serious as seditious conspiracy. 

At about 1 p.m. that day, D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, now retired, started hearing distress calls coming from fellow officers stationed at the Ellipse. 

“There were reports of individuals in the crowd who (were) armed; there were arrests made of individuals who brought firearms into the District of Columbia,” he recalled. “And then, at some point, I remember getting a phone call from my partner, Jimmy Albright, who told me that a large group had broken off from the rally and was headed towards the Capitol.”

Fanone traveled to the Capitol where he and about 40 D.C. police officers fought to defend the entrance way to the Lower West Terrace Tunnel from “an onslaught of violent attackers."

“I was pulled from the police line by an individual. His name is Albuquerque Head. He’s from Tennessee. He was later arrested and pled guilty to assaulting me,” Fanone said.

Head pulled Fanone by the neck into the crowd, separating him from other officers.

“If you listen to the audio on the body-worn camera, he’s the one that shouts out, ‘I got one.' After that, I was beaten; I had my police badge and radio stripped from my vest; and at one point another individual, Daniel Rodriguez from the state of California struck me multiple times with a taser device that he acquired at the rally and electrocuted me,” Fanone recalled.

Fanone was tased multiple times and ultimately suffered both a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury. Footage of his attack was captured by his own body camera.

“It’s probably the closest I ever came in my career to losing my life,” he said.

While Fanone had been a Trump supporter, voting for him for president in 2016, his politics changed after that day. 

“I was a cop for 20 years. In 2015, and obviously into 2016, I saw my choice of two candidates: One that I believed supported law enforcement, and one that I believed did not support law enforcement. I chose the candidate which I felt best supported my chosen profession and at the time that was Donald Trump,” said Fanone. “I quickly learned that was not necessarily the case. Donald Trump says that he supports law enforcement. Nothing changed throughout my career as a cop that shows his commitment to law enforcement was anything other than empty promises and rhetoric.”

Fanone is currently touring the Northeast, sharing his story to raise awareness around the effects of rising political violence. He is currently unemployed.