A Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department officer who suffered a mild heart attack while responding to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot said late Wednesday that GOP Rep. Andrew Clyde (Ga.) refused to shake his hand and walked away from him after he approached the congressman on Capitol Hill.
Michael Fanone, who has spoken out on the PTSD and “emotional trauma” he has experienced in the months since the mob attack, told CNN’s Don Lemon that he went to the Capitol in an attempt to set up meetings with Clyde and the 20 other Republican lawmakers who on Tuesday voted against legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to officers who responded to the Jan. 6 rioting.
“I really just went there to engage with them, talk to them about my experience, show them body-worn camera footage from that day, if they were interested,” Fanone said. “I didn’t go there with the thoughts that I was going to change a bunch of hearts and minds, but I wanted to better educate them as to what officers’ experiences were that day.”
Fanone, who was repeatedly hit with a stun gun and beaten during the riot, said that while he was not able to set up meetings with any of the lawmakers, he ran into Clyde outside an elevator.
“I was very cordial. I extended my hand to shake his hand,” Fanone recounted. “He just stared at me. I asked if he was going to shake my hand, and he told me that he didn’t who know I was.”
“So I introduced myself, I said that I was Officer Michael Fanone, that I was a D.C. Metropolitan Police officer who fought on Jan. 6 to defend the Capitol and, as a result, I suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as a heart attack after having been tased numerous times at the base of my skull, as well as being severely beaten,” the officer said.
“At that point, the congressman turned away from me,” Fanone alleged before saying that once the elevator doors opened, Clyde “ran as quickly as he could, like a coward.”
The Hill has reached out to Clyde’s office for comment on Fanone’s account of the interaction.
Clyde was criticized for downplaying the events of Jan. 6, during which multiple people died and dozens of others were injured amid the chaos.
The Georgia congressman during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing last month argued that “if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from Jan. 6, you’d think it was a normal tourist visit,” adding that calling the mob attack an insurrection “is a boldfaced lie.”
Four men are facing charges for allegedly assaulting Fanone during the riot.
Security footage from Jan. 6 aired by CNN last month showed Fanone screaming and pleading with rioters as he was attacked, at one point saying, “I have kids.”
One rioter could be heard in the footage commenting, “I got one,” before Fanone was ultimately knocked unconscious and his gear and ammunition were stolen.