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Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman escorts Kamala Harris

“The man who saved the Senate,” tweeted Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.). “Standing ovations and cheers for a true hero, Officer Eugene Goodman.”

The choice of Goodman as Harris’ escort was a strong affirmation of his actions on January 6th. Footage of a lonely Goodman, black and facing a group of predominantly white rioters, became widespread after the attempted uprising. In the clip, Goodman is shown trying to hold back dozens of rioters and quickly moving up a flight of stairs when he appeared to lure the group away from the Senate chambers where lawmakers and staff had sought refuge.

Goodman’s quick thinking likely prevented a violent confrontation and potentially saved lives, experts who reviewed the footage told the Washington Post.

He is considered by lawmakers for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian in the United States can receive for valor during the attack.

President Biden made several references to the insurrection in his inaugural address Wednesday morning, saying the mob had “tried to shake the foundations of the Capitol.”

Kirk Burkhalter, a former NYPD detective, investigated the confrontation between Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman and the rioters in the U.S. Capitol. (The Washington Post)

“Here we are days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to stop the will of the American people,” he said. “It won’t happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”

Goodman, 40, grew up in southeast Washington and served in the Army from 2002 to 2006. He served with the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq for a year. His awards include an infantryman badge that indicates he was in ground combat.

Friends described him as a reticent and private person, aware of the barrage of attention that had come his way over the past two weeks. A friend said he had been in enemy firefights and had a reputation for staying calm in emergencies.

As the Capitol rioters approached him, Goodman showed considerable reluctance and situational awareness, scouting his surroundings and communicating with other officers on his radio while the mob chased him. Some in the crowd wore symbols of the Confederation and could hear “traitors” screaming.

Five people were killed in the attack, including Brian D. Sicknick, a fellow Goodman police officer. The 12-year-old veteran died a day after police said he was physically engaged to the rioters.

Rebecca Tan and Justin George contributed to this report.