Mendoza’s fascinating testimony came Tuesday at the beginning of the contentious Senate hearing on the intelligence and security flaws of the Jan.6 attack on Capitol Hill.
“I made my way to the Rotunda, where I noticed a dense smoke-like residue and smelled what I thought was military grade CS gas, a familiar smell. It mixed with the fire extinguisher spray thrown by the protesters in the Rotunda,” Mendoza said. , a captain from the Special Operations Division
“The officers received a lot of exposure to the gas, which is worse inside the building than outside, because there is nowhere to go,” Mendoza added. “I received chemical burns on my face that have not yet healed to this day.”
Mendoza, who served in the US Army and has been a member of the US Capitol Police for nearly 19 years, said that throughout his career he has worked on controversial events and that during events they had called her “so many names so many times that now I am insensitive.”
He also said that the riot at the US Capitol, where nearly 140 officers were injured and one was killed, “was by far the worst of the worst” of the events he has worked on during his career as an officer.
“We could have had 10 times as many people working with us and I still think this battle would have been just as devastating,” Mendoza said.
“At some point, my right arm got caught between the rioters and the railing along the wall,” he testified. “A sergeant (of the DC police) let go of my arm and if not, I am sure it would have been broken.”
‘The officers begged me for relief’
Mendoza told senators how he witnessed his fellow officers being hit with objects thrown by rioters and that after police cleared the Rotunda, officers had to keep the Capitol door physically closed while rioters kept trying to enter. to the building.
“After a couple of hours, the officers cleared the Rotunda but had to physically keep the door closed because the rioters had broken it down,” Mendoza said. “The officers begged me for relief as they weren’t sure how long they could physically keep the door closed with the crowd continually banging on the outside of the door, trying to get back in. Finally, the officers were able to secure the door with furniture. and other objects. “
Mendoza described how she was at home with her 10-year-old son before she was called shortly after 1:30 p.m. She joined her fellow officers who had already been on the front line.
“I’m proud of the officers I worked with on January 6. They fought really hard. I know some said the battle lasted three hours, but according to my Fitbit, I was in the exercise zone for 4 hours and nine minutes, and a lot officers were in the fight even before I arrived. “