Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman offers new Jan. 6 details at trial of QAnon believer

WASHINGTON — Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman, who is credited with protecting members of Congress during the attack on the U.S. Capitol by diverting rioters from the floor of the U.S. Senate, testified Wednesday at the trial of one of the men who led the mob he faced down on Jan. 6.

Goodman testified at the jury trial of Doug Jensen, an Iowa man in a “QAnon” shirt who was one of the first ten individuals who came into the Capitol through a broken window on Jan. 6, according to the Justice Department and video footage. Jensen has been charged with numerous offenses, including felony charges of civil disorder, obstruction of an official proceeding, and assaulting, resisting or impeding officers.

After the attack, Goodman, an Army veteran, escorted Vice President Kamala Harris during the 2021 inauguration and was honored by Congress for his actions on Jan. 6, when he steered the mob away from the Senate chamber as members were still evacuating.

Video shot by HuffPost reporter Igor Bobic which went viral on Jan. 6 shows Jensen leading the mob as an outnumbered Goodman tries to get them to back up, but the mob moves forward and chases Goodman up the stairs.

Goodman told jurors that he’d been with the Capitol Police for 15 years and he previously was deployed to Iraq for the U.S. Army. He described arriving at the Capitol complex around 5 a.m. on Jan. 6 and seeing that pro-Trump protesters were already arriving at nearby Union Station as they made their way to Trump’s speech.

Goodman had been assigned to man the Capitol rotunda, guarding the path that senators and members of Congress would take as they moved between chambers during the certification of the 2020 presidential election, which requires a joint session of Congress. Goodman filled in some of the details of what his day looked like before the viral video, telling the jury that he went outside and brought an arrestee — one of the first people taken into custody that day — to a transport van before returning to the west side of the Capitol, where a battle he described as “medieval” was unfolding, as rioters were “fighting and punching” police.

Goodman said he found himself holding pepper spray in one hand and his baton in the other as police faced off with rioters. He was hit in the face with bear spray and was hit with tear gas that was deployed by law enforcement, he said. As more officers arrived, he was able to go inside to a triage area, where he described throwing up in a bucket before returning outside.

He said a crowd of what “looked like thousands” was overwhelming police, and climbing all over the scaffolding. He then when back to the rotunda after he heard the Senate had been breached and started making his way to the Senate side, where he encountered Sen. Mitt Romney. Footage released during Trump’s second impeachment trial showed Goodman directing Romney to turn around just after the mob had breached the building.

Goodman described being jabbed at by a man with a confederate flag that day. He also noted that he had his hand on his gun when he encountered the rioters at the bottom of the stairs, which he said he rarely does.

“I’m boxed in. I have no out but the stairs at this point,” he says. He recalled telling Jensen that he’d shoot if he was attacked. Jensen replied with something to the effect of “do what you gotta do,” Goodman said.

“He just kept coming closer,” Goodman said. “I felt like they were gonna rush at any time.”

Goodman testified that he stayed at work past midnight into Jan. 7, helping clear rooms and getting a senator out of their hideaway office. The Senate chamber itself went through sweeps by K-9s and bomb squads so that Congress could resume its work, Goodman said.

Jensen has been in pre-trial custody since last year. He had previously been released on a high-intensity pretrial release program, but Kelly ordered him detained again last year after he was discovered alone in his garage using a iPhone to stream Mike Lindell’s cyber symposium on the 2020 presidential election, in violation of his conditions of release. (Lindell recently had his cell phone seized by the FBI at a Hardee’s.)

Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as supporters of President Donald Trump, including Doug Jensen, center, are confronted by Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6, 2021.
Smoke fills the walkway outside the Senate Chamber as supporters of President Donald Trump, including Doug Jensen, center, are confronted by Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6, 2021.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP file

Two days after the Jan. 6 attack, Jensen explained to the FBI how he came to believe conspiracy theories about the election and a variety of topics, even asking special agents whether the Washington Monument was “supposed to be a giant penis.” Jensen said he was “the conspiracy nut at work” and explained that he regularly checked QAnon forums.

“Every time Q always says something, it always happens,” Jensen said. “Every time Q said anything, it always came true.” (None of the concrete predictions attributed to the anonymous Q account have come to fruition).

During opening arguments before jurors on Tuesday, Jensen’s defense attorney Christopher Davis argued evidence in the case will demonstrate his client genuinely believed in QAnon, that “the storm” had arrived on Jan. 6, and that law enforcement would arrest corrupt politicians. He told jurors to expect to see video of Jensen telling officers to do their job throughout the trial. 

“He believed they were obligated to do it,” Davis continued, noting that Jensen thought martial law was going to be instituted on Jan. 6. 

“He’s not terribly sophisticated,” Davis added, saying his client went down a rabbit hole when he got sucked into online conspiracy theories.

Davis stressed however, that jurors wouldn’t see his client lay a hand on anyone, asking them to separate Jensen from the events of the day and judge him for who he is.

The attorney also said Jensen regularly carries a pocket knife on him, both at the Capitol on Jan. 6 and when he spoke with the FBI because he’s a construction worker. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Allen told jurors during opening arguments that Jensen was “well aware” by December of 2020 of the possibility of violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6.

“Honestly I thought I was at the White House at first. I know it sounds stupid,” Jensen told the FBI, adding that he soon “realized I was at the Capitol.”

Allen argued that Jensen figured out where he was by the time he entered the building.

“Mr. Jensen knew he was at the Capitol,” Allen said.

The FBI has arrested more than 850 defendants in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. This week, they announced the arrest of five members of the far-right group America First, alleging they entered House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s conference room.

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