Blavity News — Capitol Police Officer Said Rioters Burned Her Face And Nearly Broke Her Arm During Insurrection

Capitol Police Captain Carneysha Mendoza described the gruesome details of an injury she sustained during the Capitol insurrection on Jan. 6 at a Senate hearing Tuesday on the intelligence and security failures of the incident. Mendoza said rioters burned her face with chemicals and nearly broke her arm as they stormed the Capitol Building last month, according to CNN.

The Special Operations Division captain first noticed a heavy smoke-like residue in the Rotunda and smelled a “military grade CS gas,” according to Mendoza.

“It was mixed with fire extinguisher spray deployed by the rioters. The rioters continued to deploy CS into the Rotunda,” Mendoza said. “Officers received a lot of gas exposure, which is worse inside the building than outside, because there’s nowhere for it to go. I received chemical burns to my face that still have not healed to this day.”

As a U.S. Army veteran and a member of the US Capitol Police for almost 19 years, Menodza has been involved in dozens of controversial situations. Throughout her career, the veteran said she has been called “so many names so many times that I’m numb to it now.”

The Capitol riot was “by far the worst of the worst,” she said.

“We could have had 10 times the amount of people working with us and I still believe this battle would have been just as devastating,” said Mendoza, who was one of about 140 officers injured on Jan. 6. “At some point, my right arm got wedged between the rioters and railing along the wall. A (D.C. police) sergeant pulled my arm free and had he not, I’m certain it would have been broken.”

Officers eventually cleared the Rotunda, but they still had to physically hold the door closed because it had been broken by the rioters, she said.

“Officers begged me for relief as they were unsure how long they could physically hold the door closed with the crowd continually banging on the outside of the door, attempting to gain reentry,” she said. “Eventually officers were able to secure the door with furniture and other objects.”

Mendoza, who was at home with her 10-year-old before being called in, rushed to help her colleagues after the insurrection had already started.

“I’m proud of the officers I worked with on Jan. 6. They fought extremely hard,” she said. “I know some said the battle lasted three hours, but according to my Fitbit, I was in the exercise zone for four hours and nine minutes, and many officers were in the fight before I even arrived.”

As Blavity previously reported, five people, including a police officer, lost their lives after supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

Another officer recounted the event in an interview with Good Morning America. The officer described the damage that took place during the attack, particularly noting the demolished tribute to civil rights icon John Lewis.

“That mural was destroyed. Not just knocked over, it was destroyed,” he said. “They ripped it in half, once. They picked it up and they ripped it again, and again. It was in pieces. It was deliberate. The American flag stayed up, but that mural to John Lewis was destroyed. And you can’t tell me that that isn’t racism.”

The distraught man didn’t hesitate to describe the perpetrators as terrorists.

“It wasn’t just a mob or a bunch of thugs, you know, they were terrorists. They tried to disrupt this country’s democracy. That was their goal. And you know what? You all failed,” he said, directing his message at the attackers. 

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