Capitol Police Officer Who Led Mob Away from Senate Chambers Is an Army Iraq War Vet

Protesters gather near the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Protesters supporting U.S. President Donald Trump gather near the office of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in the U.S. Capitol after groups breached the building's security on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Before Eugene Goodman faced dozens of protesters who broke into the U.S. Capitol last week, he served as an infantryman in Iraq.

Goodman, an officer with the U.S. Capitol Police, is credited with leading a mob of protesters away from the Senate chambers during last week's siege of the federal building. Igor Bobic, a HuffPost politics reporter, captured the now-viral moment when Goodman was suddenly faced with a large group of President Donald Trump's supporters who had surrounded and broken into the Capitol.

Bobic's near-90-second video shows Goodman attempting to hold back the crowd, picking up a baton to hold them back before running up a flight of stairs. When he reaches the landing where the stairway splits in two directions, Goodman leads the mob in the direction opposite of the Senate chambers.

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"He's trying to bait them," Kirk Burkhalter, a professor at New York Law School and a former New York City police officer, told The Washington Post, which first reported on Goodman's Army ties.

The officer can then be heard radioing fellow law enforcement members that the rioters reached the second floor.

"Just now realizing how much of a close call it was in the Senate. Literally seconds," Bobic noted three days after posting the video of Goodman.

Goodman left the Army in 2006 after serving four years as an infantryman, said Lt. Col. Gabriel Ramirez, an Army spokesman. He deployed to Iraq with 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), from 2005 to 2006.

His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal and Army Good Conduct Medal.

The Capitol Police did not respond to questions about Goodman's time in uniform or actions on Jan. 6, including whether he's being considered for any awards for single-handedly leading members of the mob away from senators.

Keith Taylor, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and another former New York City police officer, reviewed the video and told the Post that Goodman showed significant situational awareness.

"Even as he spoke and beckoned to the rioters, he was communicating with coworkers through a radio attached to his uniform, Taylor said, giving them updates on where he was and where he was headed," the paper reported.

Several friends also told the Post that Goodman was focused on "defusing the threat to lawmakers, not his own safety."

"My job is to protect and serve," the Post reported he told coworkers after Bobic's video of him went viral. "And on that day, I was protecting."

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ginaaharkins.

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