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Eugene Goodman, heralded as hero during Capitol riot, to be awarded Congressional Gold Medal

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WASHINGTON – The Senate on Friday unanimously passed legislation to award Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman with a Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor awarded by Congress.

Goodman was in the chamber during the announcement, which was made following the conclusion of the question-and-answer portion of the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

He received a standing ovation from the entire body, putting his hand over his heart as senators stood.

Goodman has been lauded after a video showed him leading a pro-Trump mob away from the Senate chamber during the deadly Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, potentially saving lives.

New security footage played during the trial showed Goodman during the breach running down a hallway, where he passed Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. He signaled to Romney and an aide with him to turn back around, and Romney then turned and ran.

More: Officer Goodman seen in Capitol riot footage warning U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney to turn around

The Congressional Gold Medal is considered the “highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions,” according to the House of Representatives. Legislation has also been introduced in the House to award Goodman the medal. It needs to pass both chambers and is expected to do so

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., while asking for unanimous consent to the pass legislation to award Goodman the medal, said “the world has learned about the incredible, incredible bravery of officer Goodman on that fateful day,”

Schumer added that Goodman’s “courage in the line of duty, his foresight in the midst of chaos, his willingness to make himself a target of the mob rage so that others might reach safety.” 

Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell, R-KY., said that without Goodman’s heroism, “people in this chamber may not have escaped that day unharmed.”

After being heralded as a hero for his actions Jan. 6, Goodman escorted Vice President-elect Kamala Harris at the inauguration on Jan. 20, as the acting deputy Senate sergeant-at-arms.

In the footage of Jan. 6, where he leads the mob away from the chamber, Goodman pushes the leader of the pack, a man wearing a black QAnon shirt later identified as Doug Jensen from Des Moines. Jensen, who was armed with a baton, was focused on Goodman and appeared not to notice the open hallway leading to the Senate chambers.

Jensen chased Goodman, who led him and the mob away from the Senate floor. The group followed him into a group of police in a back corridor outside the Senate. Jensen was later arrested by the FBI on five federal charges.

Goodman served in the Army as an infantryman for more than four years, leaving with the rank of sergeant in December 2006 after a year in Iraq. He has worked for the Capitol Police since at least mid-2009.

More: ‘Hero’ Capitol officer who led rioters away from Senate may get a Congressional Gold Medal

Contributing: N’Dea Yancey-Briggs and Rebecca Morin

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