WASHINGTON — Horrifying new video shows rioters at the Capitol dragging a D.C. Police officer down the stairs, beating, stomping and smashing him with a pole flying the American flag.
D.C.'s Acting Police Chief Robert Contee said the images left him sick to his stomach. The officer was terrified they'd kill him, Contee said. The video is chilling to watch, the officer ripped by insurrectionists from a line inside a door, his fellow officers unable to help him.
Contee said the officer has just been released from the hospital and is starting to recover.
"It makes me sick to my stomach just to see that video and that officer," the chief said. "Obviously, he was afraid for his life."
Many people have already seen a video of the officer squeezed in a door frame by rioters pushing and screaming, "heave ho." The new video is the same door, but it's a different injured officer. He was dragged out of the line of D.C. Police officers trying to push the rioters out of the Capitol.
It's hard to see through the crowd, but the officer, who was alone was beaten, stomped and hit. At one point, it looked like one of the rioters would impale him.
On Twitter, many people mistakenly said the video was of slain Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, but Chief Contee confirmed it was a Metropolitan Police Department officer who rushed to help his colleagues at the Capitol.
He said the officer feared the crowd would steal his own weapon and use it to kill him.
"I've had officers that have done two tours in Iraq say that this was scarier than their time in combat," Contee said.
Another video shows the terrified officer finally pulled from the crowd, injured and barely able to hold up his head.
The chief said the rioters injured a total of 56 D.C. police officers. Social media detectives have grabbed images from the videos and are doing their best to identify the rioters.
"The irony is not lost on anyone," Thomas Manger, a former police chief in both Montgomery and Fairfax County, said. "A police officer trying to defend the Capitol being beaten by someone using an American flag to beat them."
Manger, a law enforcement consultant, said the perpetrators need to be identified and arrested as soon as possible.
Police have declined so far to offer many details about the injured officer. They only say he's healing at home now, but shaken, appalled and angry.