Hearings begin into US Capitol riots

Officer Caroline Edwards has just described how she was sprayed with pepper spray and tear gas as she was holding her position outside the Capitol in what resembled a war scene.

Edwards said she was at the bike rack at the bottom of the Pennsylvania Avenue walkway where a crowd led by Proud Boys figure Joseph Biggs was gathering.

“There were some who had military fatigues on. We could see people with bulletproof vests on you know, things like that,” Edwards said. “It didn’t seem you know, extremely cohesive, but they had gathered there together.”

Caroline Edwards.Credit:Bloomberg

A crowd chanting “f— Antifa” then joined the group and started targeting officers protecting the building. At that point, Edwards told her supervisor: “Sarge, I think we’re going to need a few more people down here”.

The mob then began approaching the barricade and the bike racks. Edwards said officers began holding on to the bike racks, as they waited for backup units, but they were being overpowered.

After providing first aid to people, Edwards joined other officers holding the line.

“All of a sudden I see movement to the left of me, and I turned, and it was [an officer] with his head in his hands and he was ghostly pale,” she said.

“I was concerned, my cop alarm bells went off because if you get sprayed with pepper spray, you’re going to turn red. He turned just about as pale as this sheet of paper.”

As Edwards turned to figure out what happened, she was sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray. She was taken to be decontaminated by another officer, where they were tear-gassed.

She told the hearing the following:

I can just remember my breath catching in my throat because what I saw was just a war scene. It was something like I’d seen out of the movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes.

There were officers on the ground, they were bleeding. I saw friends with blood all over their faces.

I was catching people as they fell. You know? I was it was carnage. It was chaos. I can’t even describe what I saw. I never in my wildest dreams did I think that as a police officer, as a law enforcement officer, I would find myself in the middle of a battle.

I’m trained to detain a couple of subjects and and handle a crowd but I’m not combat trained.

And that day, it was just hours of hand to hand combat, hours of dealing with things that were way beyond what any law enforcement officer has ever trained for and I just remember that moment of stepping behind the line and just seeing the absolute war zone that the west front had become.

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