After two surgeries, he remains in physical therapy from it. The sound of Capitol workers banging on metal reminds him of it. A year later, Officer Aquilino Gonell is still living through Jan. 6.
As much as the 16-year veteran of the Capitol Police wants to move on, circumstances haven’t let him. He’s one of a handful of officers who’ve stepped into the public eye after the Capitol attack, serving as a witness for the select panel investigating the insurrection and speaking about his experience battling violent rioters outside his workplace.
He’s done that in part out of concern that those responsible for the attack by former President Donald Trump’s supporters haven’t been held accountable. Until that happens, Gonell and many of his colleagues who defended the Hill worry about a future attack on Congress.
“The only thing changed” since the riot, he said in an interview, “was that they changed the glass that was broken that day.”
The year wasn’t entirely dark: Gonell’s bonded with fellow responders who testified and continue to risk political blowback for speaking out about the horrors they faced. He and Capitol Police colleague Harry Dunn, as well as D.C. Metropolitan