Eugene Goodman hailed for guiding Mitt Romney to safety

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image copyrightEPA
image captionOfficer Eugene Goodman is being celebrated for his heroics

Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman is being called a hero for a second time after footage shown at the impeachment trial shows him directing Mitt Romney away from an advancing mob.

In the video, the officer is seen notifying Mr Romney that the rioters were heading in his direction and guiding him away.

The Utah senator, an unpopular figure among Trump supporters, said he looked forward to thanking the police officer for his actions.

Officer Goodman was already being praised for his bravery that day, after singlehandedly steering a mob away from the Senate chambers.

Video footage showed him just steps ahead of rioters as they chase him up a flight of stairs.

Mr Goodman is then seen glancing towards the Senate entrance before luring the men in the opposite direction.

Five people, including a police officer, died as a result of the riots.

image copyrightIgor Bobic
image captionThe officer was seen confronting a pro-Trump rioter during the attack

Members of the 2,000-person Capitol police department are tasked with protecting the Capitol building and those inside, it.

A group of senators has introduced a bill to award Officer Goodman with the Congressional Gold Medal.

News of his additional heroics involving Senator Romney will only amplify calls for him to be recognised.

The senator said he was unaware of the danger he was in until he saw the footage at the trial on Wednesday.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionSenator Mitt Romney said he was looking forward to thanking Officer Goodman

It formed part of the Democratic prosecution in trying to underline the peril the heart of US government was under as Trump supporters ransacked the Capitol.

Senator Romney said it was "overwhelmingly distressing and emotional" to see the violence again, six weeks after the attack.

And reflecting on his own narrow escape, he added he was looking forward to thanking Officer Goodman "when I next see him".

media captionSee how close the mob got to Mike Pence, Mitt Romney and other lawmakers

New York Law School criminal law professor and 20-year veteran of the New York City Police Department Kirk Burkhalter called Mr Goodman's response to the rioters "tremendous".

"I don't think there was any type of training that would prepare you for that situation," Mr Burkhalter told the BBC, speaking days after the attack.

In the video shot by Huffington Post reporter Igor Bobic, Mr Goodman, who is black, is antagonised by the group of Trump supporters - who are all white men.

The man at the front of the pack, wearing a QAnon T-shirt, has been identified as Doug Jensen of Iowa. He was later arrested by local police and the FBI for his role in the riots.

Footage shows Mr Jensen leading the mob that chased Mr Goodman up a flight of stairs - just a few feet away from the entrance to the Senate floor. As he is pursued, Mr Goodman shouts "second floor!" into his radio, seemingly alerting other officers of the group approaching the chamber.

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After Mr Goodman glances toward the Senate chamber entrance, he shoves Mr Jensen - a move seemingly designed to draw attention on to himself, luring the mob away from the chambers and those hiding inside.

The image of Mr Goodman trailed by a mob - some armed with Confederate flags, others with allusions to the Nazi flag - was extremely disturbing, Mr Burkhalter said.

"Police officer, not a police officer, to see a black man being chased by someone carrying a Confederate flag - there is something wrong with that picture. That should never happen again," he said.

"It just reeks of everything we need to correct."

Mr Goodman's standoff with the mob came just minutes before authorities were able to seal the chamber, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

His heroics were noted at the highest level - he was invited to the inauguration as a guest of Vice-President Kamala Harris.

Reporting by Holly Honderich

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