A former officer with the U.S. Capitol Police Department who’s been called a hero for his actions stemming from the infamous Capitol riots announced his candidacy for Congress in part by vowing to “stop” the same kind of domestic terrorists whose actions on Jan. 6, 2021, were directly influenced by Donald Trump.
Harry Dunn, who was on the front lines during the Capitol attack and subsequently testified before Congress about how his Jan. 6 experience was largely racist, used an emotional video shared on social media to officially launch his campaign on Friday, the eve of the third anniversary of the partisan insurrection.
Harry Dunn for Congress
With violent imagery mirroring the Capitol chaos nearly three years ago and haunting music playing in the background, Dunn says in the campaign video that he “swore an oath to protect our constitution” and democracy.
“It’s what allowed me to protect some members of Congress who I knew were bigots who helped fan the flames that started all of this,” Dunn, 40, says about Jan. 6.
Dunn, a Democrat, said he “put country above self” while those aforementioned Congress members he helped save from harm’s way “voted to acquit” the twice-impeached Trump and “denied the violence and trauma that led to the deaths of some of my former officers.”
Crediting the spirit of “good trouble” championed by the late Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis, Dunn said his experience at the Capitol that fateful day is the reason he’s running for Congress.
Having recently resigned following a career with the U.S. Capitol Police Department spanning more than 15 years, Dunn also warned that Trump is “hellbent on finishing what he started this day.”
Reminding his followers that Biden awarded him with the Presidential Citizens Medal – the second-highest honor the government awards – Dunn wrote on social media that he is “running for Congress to stop Trump’s MAGA extremists & ensure it never happens again.”
On January 6th, I defended our democracy from insurrectionists as a Capitol Police Officer. After, President Biden honored me with the Presidential Citizens Medal.
Today, I’m running for Congress to stop Trump’s MAGA extremists & ensure it never happens again.
Join me:… pic.twitter.com/5G3rd90O45
— Harry Dunn (@libradunn) January 5, 2024
It was a fitting launch to a campaign for a man who bared his soul during his emotional testimony before the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
In an unforgettable and equally unsurprising moment, Dunn, who is an African American raised in Maryland’s Prince George’s County, testified during the summer of 2021 that “no one had ever, ever called me ni**er while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police Officer” until Jan. 6.
Until January 6th, “no one had ever, ever called me ni**er while wearing the uniform of a Capitol Police Officer.”
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 27, 2021
“Until then I had never seen anyone physically assault Capitol police or MPD, let alone witness mass assaults being perpetrated on law enforcement officers,” Dunn testified.
Dunn added later: “I told them to just leave the Capitol, and in response they yelled, ‘no man, this is our house. President Trump invited us here. We’re here to stop the steal.’”
Dunn testified that the experience compelled him to pull aside another Black officer with the U.S. Capitol Police in disbelief.
“I sat down on a bench in the rotunda with a friend of mine who is also a Black Capitol police officer and told him about the racial slurs I endured,” Dunn said. “I became very emotional and began yelling, ‘how the blank could something like this happen. Is this America?’”
Dunn summed it all up neatly: “It was just so overwhelming and so disheartening and disappointing that we live in a country with people like that.”
Later, California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, a Democrat, asked Dunn to expound on the racist elements during his response to the Capitol rioters. “Is this America?” Schiff asked Dunn.
“The fact that we had our race attacked and just because of the way we look, you know … To answer your question, frankly, I guess it is America,” Dunn responded. “It shouldn’t be, but I guess that’s the way that things are.”
Comparing Jan. 6 to a “war,” Dunn added to his answer.
“So I guess it sounds silly, but I guess it is American … but it’s not the side of America that I like. It’s not the side that any of us here represent,” Dunn told Schiff. “We represent the good side of America, the people who actually believe in decency.”
2024 Election in Maryland
Dunn is running for Maryland’s third congressional district, which has been represented by U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes for the last eight terms. But Sarbanes, a Democrat, is not seeking reelection, leaving an opening for Dunn to join the field of at least nine other candidates seeking the congressional seat.
That includes at least seven candidates vying for the Democratic nomination.
The Maryland Democratic primary is scheduled for May 14.
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