Only Way to Get Closure Over January 6 Rioting Is to Lock Trump Up, Says Capitol Police Officer — ‘Throw Away the Key’

By William J. Furney

Jailing former president Trump and “throwing away the key” would be the only way to achieve some form of closure over the deadly events that took place on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, says a former officer stationed there. 

Former US Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell also thinks Trump should not be allowed to run for the presidency again, in the election next year. 

Speaking in an interview on SiriusXM, Gonell said “What is closure for me? I don’t know. It could be that [Trump] gets barred from political office and never sets foot in the White House. It could be he goes to jail. It could be that he loses everything he had because he put everybody else’s lives at risk.”

Iraq War Veteran

Gonell, 44, was born in the Dominican Republic and served in the Iraq War as a US Army soldier before becoming a Capitol Police Officer. He has written a book about his experience during the Capitol attack: American Shield: The Immigrant Sergeant Who Defended Democracy.

Gonell, who was badly injured in the Capitol rioting, testified before a House committee investigating the calamitous events of January 6, one of four police officers to do so. 

Writing in a piece for HuffPost, Gonnel described what happened during the attack. 

“On that day, I was attacked while defending the US Capitol against an invasion by tens of thousands in a barbaric mob of rioters incited by President Trump. Swarms of assailants beat me and my colleagues with poles, sticks, broken pipes and pieces of furniture. It was worse than combat I’d seen in Iraq.”

‘Thought I Would Die’

He continued: “Holding the police line through hours of torture, bloody from fending off multiple rioters, I was called ‘un-American’ and a traitor who broke his oath and deserved to be executed. Trampled from both sides, I thought, ‘This is how I’m going to die.'”

The insurrection at the US Capitol was a result of the 2020 presidential election that then-president Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden. Trump refused to concede defeat, instead insisting he won the vote, which he claimed had been “rigged” and “stolen.” As he launched legal challenges to the result, all of which failed, Trump called on his supporters to protest the result at Capitol Hill. 

Thousands of MAGA — Trump’s campaign slogan Make America Great Again — turned out at the US Capitol complex in Washington, DC, as Congress was meeting to confirm Biden the winner of the 2020 election. Fighting with security officers and police broke out as the protesters stormed the congressional buildings, and five people lost their lives. Over 1,000 people were arrested, many of them since jailed for their roles in the attack. 

Trump’s Election Indictments 

Trump has been indicted at federal and state level, in Georgia, for allegedly trying to overturn the result of the 2020 election and block the peaceful transfer of power to Biden. He denies the charges and says they amount to a “political witch hunt” to try stop him from becoming president again. He has also been indicted a further two times, for allegedly removing classified documents from the White House and keeping them at his home in Florida and for allegedly making hush money payments to cover up an affair. 

At a rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Trump said that all his legal and other problems, including moves to have him barred from running next year — in cases in two states, over the insurrection clause in the Constitution that advocacy groups say prevent him — had only served to further endear him to Republican voters. 

Trump told the crowd: “To be honest with you, I’m much more popular now than I would have been if they didn’t do it.” 

‘Want to Run Against Trump’

Trump continued in his rally speech: “But disinformation and misinformation, they always say, ‘We want to really run against Trump.’ They want to run against me; they wouldn’t have indicted me four times and fought like hell to keep me off the ballot.”

Trump also repeated his claim that he won the 2020 election, saying at the rally that “the fake news and the stupid people at the Wall Street Journal editorial board, they said the other day, ‘Well they really want to run against Trump.’ Look, they said that in 2016, and we won. They said that in 2020, we did much better than anybody.”

  • Title image is of Aquilino Gonell and his son. (Courtesy Aquilino Gonell)

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