President Biden signs bill awarding medals to Jan. 6 responders

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WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — President Joe Biden Thursday signed legislation to award four congressional gold medals to the United States Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department for protecting Congress during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris held a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden to sign the legislation.

Under the bill, which passed by voice vote in the Senate Tuesday with no objections, there will be four medals – to be displayed at the Capitol Police headquarters, the Metropolitan Police Department, the U.S. Capitol and the Smithsonian Institution.

The honor will go to members of the Capitol Police and Washington, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department who fought with a mob of hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump attempting to overturn his election defeat.

“My fellow Americans, let’s remember what this was all about,” Biden said of the siege. “It was a violent attempt to overturn the will of the American people, to seek power at all costs, to replace the ballot with brute force. To destroy, not to build. Without democracy, nothing is possible. With it, everything is.”

The attack was the worst on the Capitol in 200 years and interrupted the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s win over Trump. Four people died that day and Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick collapsed and died afterward of what authorities said were natural causes. Four police officers have killed themselves since the riots. More than 100 officers were injured.

“Awarding the Congressional Gold Medal is a way to commemorate their sacrifice and make sure that the truth of Jan. 6 is recognized and remembered forever,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said on the chamber’s floor.

Last month, four police officers who worked to defend the Capitol from the mob of Trump supporters testified at the first hearing before a congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 riot.

The House of Representatives Committee was formed after Senate Republicans blocked the creation of an independent commission to investigate the attack. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, named the committee’s members.

“This is how I’m going to die, defending this entrance,” Capitol Police Officer Aquilino Gonell told House investigators he could feel himself losing oxygen as he was crushed by rioters as he was defending the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

More than 535 people face charges arising from the riot.

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