Lawmakers introduce bill to honor officer who led Capitol rioters away from Senate
The bipartisan bill would honor the officer with the Congressional Gold Medal.
Three members of Congress introduced a bill Thursday to honor U.S. Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal "for his bravery and quick thinking," when President Donald Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol last week.
Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., Charlie Crist, D-Fla. and Nancy Mace, R-S.C., introduced the bill Thursday.
Goodman "valiantly put himself in harm's way, luring a violent mob away from an unguarded entrance to the Senate chambers, protecting Senators, staff, and reporters inside," they said in a press release.
Crist called Goodman a hero for his actions in a press release announcing the award. "Officer Eugene Goodman was the only thing standing between the mob and the United States Senate," he said. "I shudder to think what might have happened had it not been for Officer Goodman's fast thinking and commitment to his duty and his country."
"If not for the quick, decisive, and heroic actions from Officer Goodman, the tragedy of last week's insurrection could have multiplied in magnitude to levels never before seen in American history," Cleaver added. "With this prestigious award, we can show our gratitude to Officer Goodman for saving countless lives and defending our democracy."
Mace called Goodman's actions heroic and said they represent the best of law enforcement.
"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," she added. "Thanks to his valor, we are here today. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank him enough for his bravery and for his dedication to the call of duty."
Former Capitol Police Officer Larry Schaefer told ABC News that Goodman made the right call.
"So just get in the mindset of the officer, how many people were in that hallway? Was his life in jeopardy? Did he feel like his life was in jeopardy? If he would have pulled out his gun and started shooting, how many people would he have continued to have to shoot in order to stop that whole crowd? Would that have been effective to stop the whole crowd or would he have still had to turn around and run? So you have to get into the mentality of an officer and think about the decisions that they make in that spur of the moment," Schaefer said in ABC News' “24 Hours: Assault on the Capitol.”
"He gave up ground because understand, under U.S. code, our mission for Capitol Police -- it's to protect the members of Congress. Not the building, technically, not the staff and not the visitors, technically -- but as an ancillary, we do protect the building, the grounds, the staff and the visitors as part of our mission. But primarily, our mission for continuity of government is to protect the members of Congress," Schaefer continued.
The XVIII Airborne Corps tweeted their praise for Goodman and his actions.
"Capitol police officer Eugene Goodman is rightfully being hailed as a hero after singlehandedly holding back rioters from entering the Senate chambers last week," the corps tweeted. "An Iraq combat vet and member of this Corps, Eugene was a hero long before last Wednesday. We celebrate his valor."
Friends of Goodman's told The Washington Post that he is "ambivalent about the limelight."
He is concerned about becoming a target of the extremist groups that carried out the attack, the Post reported, but one friend told the newspaper that Goodman said he would do the same thing again.