Good cop, bad cop? Hearing reminds us it’s more complicated than that

Some complain of a war on cops. But actually the nation is in the midst of a struggle to ensure that the police work for us, for our safety, for our liberty and for democracy, rather than against all those things.

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Editorials

June 16, 2022 - 4:13 PM

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, left, testifies alongside British filmmaker Nick Quested during a House Select Committee hearing to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on Thursday, June 9. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that, as a police officer … I would find myself in the middle of a battle,” Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards said Thursday at the first public hearing of the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. “I’m trained to detain a couple of subjects … but I’m not combat-trained. And that day, it was just hours of hand-to-hand combat.”

The hearings continue this week, but Edwards’ testimony still resonates. Her words, together with video previously unseen by the public, drive home the violent reality of that day. The Capitol was under assault by a mob intent on blocking Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election, interrupting the orderly transition of power and, in effect, breaking American democracy.

There was nothing to stop the violent horde but Edwards and a few hundred other Capitol police and District of Columbia Metropolitan police officers. But instead of retreating to safety, they did their best to prevent the rioters from entering the Capitol building, and they did it long enough for members of Congress to escape. They stood in what was — yes, we’ll say it — a thin blue line, protecting the law, the Capitol and the nation.

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