Police Officers Jeered by GOP Lawmakers During Visit to Pennsylvania House

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Two former law enforcement officers who bravely defended the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection faced jeers and disrespect from state GOP lawmakers in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives. Former U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn and former sergeant Aquilino Gonell were introduced as “heroes” by House Speaker Joanna McClinton, acknowledging their courage in protecting democracy against rioters on that fateful day. The House floor descended into chaos as Democratic lawmakers witnessed several GOP members hissing, booing, and walking out in protest as the two officers were recognized.

The disrespectful behavior of the Republican lawmakers in a battleground state like Pennsylvania highlights the growing political divide surrounding the legacy of the Jan. 6 insurrection. Supporting law enforcement officers who risked their lives to defend the Capitol has become a contentious issue among some lawmakers. Despite the polarizing climate, Dunn and Gonell have been actively involved in politics, campaigning for President Biden’s reelection and advocating for a stronger democracy.

While Senior Republicans refrained from directly commenting on the walkout, they emphasized their support for law enforcement and accused Democratic lawmakers of politicizing the incident. The disrespectful treatment of the two officers on the House floor sparked outrage among Democratic representatives, who stressed the importance of honoring the brave individuals who defended the Capitol and democracy on Jan. 6.

Legislators like Rep. Jordan A. Harris emphasized the need for respect for individuals who put their lives on the line to protect elected officials and democracy. Despite the bipartisan tradition of celebrating Americans who have served the country, the disrespectful actions of some lawmakers towards Dunn and Gonell were deemed embarrassing and disgraceful by their Democratic counterparts.

Dunn, who was pepper-sprayed and injured in hand-to-hand combat on Jan. 6, has since been vocal about his experience and his stance against political violence. Gonell, an Iraq War veteran, suffered injuries during the Capitol riot and accused Pennsylvania House Republicans of abandoning the truth and siding with those who attacked the officers. The incident in the Pennsylvania House reflects the ongoing tensions surrounding the events of Jan. 6 and the differing attitudes towards those who defended the Capitol that day.