WASHINGTON — Caroline Edwards, the first police officer to be injured during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol, returned to the front lines to fight the violent mob after suffering a head injury.
The Atlanta native and University of Georgia graduate testified during the inaugural hearing of the U.S. House committee investigating the attack that police were outmanned and overwhelmed by the rioters. She recalled looking behind the police line at one point and reeling from what she saw.
“There were officers on the ground,” she said. “They were bleeding; they were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”
Several other police officers sat behind Edwards as she spoke during the second half of the two-hour hearing. In addition to Edwards’ testimony, the committee also heard from filmmaker Nick Quested, who was embedded with the Proud Boys that day and caught never-before-seen footage of the attack.
During the first hour, Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, and Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, summarized what the committee has learned thus far and what will be highlighted at subsequent hearings. They said that then-President Donald Trump knew the election had not been stolen and that his lies and misinformation not only fueled the riot, but that he knowingly encouraged the violence.
The committee has scheduled its next meetings for Monday, Wednesday and Thursday next week. Those hearings will focus more closely on Trump and his advisers’ efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including pressuring Republican officials in Georgia and other states.
There will be more analysis of a letter to Georgia officials drafted by Jeffrey Clark, then an official in the Department of Justice, that spread false allegations of election fraud and pressured them to reject Joe Biden’s victory. The committee will also discuss at a future hearing a call placed by Trump to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger demanding he “find” the votes to overturn the election.