US Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman has been hailed as an American hero for leading a growing mob away from the Senate chambers during last week’s attack on the Capitol.
Now, a bipartisan trio of lawmakers wants to recognize Goodman with a Congressional Gold Medal for potentially saving lives on one of the darkest days in US history.
Democratic Reps. Charlie Crist of Florida and Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri, and Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina introduced legislation this week to award Goodman with the medal, reserved for Americans who’ve made “distinguished achievements and contributions” to their country.
Goodman’s contribution was caught on camera. Footage from the insurrection captured by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic shows Goodman being chased up a Capitol staircase by a mob of insurrectionists shortly after they’d broken in. When he reached a landing, he looked to his left, where he noticed the door to the Senate chambers was still unguarded. He then led the rioters to the right, away from lawmakers and toward backup officers.
The Senate chambers wouldn’t be secured until one minute later, according to CNN’s timeline of events from the riot.
“By putting his own life on the line and successfully, single-handedly leading insurrectionists away from the floor of the Senate Chamber, Officer Eugene Goodman performed his duty to protect Congress with distinction, and by his actions, Officer Goodman left an indelible mark on American history,” the legislation reads.
The lawmakers said in statements that his actions were life-saving.
“When he was the only thing standing between Members of Congress and the violent mob, he quickly and selflessly redirected their fury upon himself so those Members could escape,” Mace said. “Thanks to his valor, we are here today.”
CNN has reached out to the US Capitol Police for comment and is waiting to hear back. The department hasn’t publicly identified Goodman to CNN or other outlets.
Previous Congressional Gold Medal honorees include the Tuskegee Airmen, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (awarded posthumously) and Coretta Scott King and the Black women mathematicians who worked at NASA during the mid-20th century, including Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan.