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UGA alumn testifies during House Jan. 6 committee hearing

Caroline Edwards was on the frontlines during the insurrection.

ATLANTA — A Georgia Bulldog testified Thursday night in front of the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and former president Donald Trump's attempt to overturn the 2020 election.

U.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards was sworn in shortly after the panel recessed to offer her firsthand accounts of what happened in Washington D.C. on Jan. 6, 2021. Edwards is an Atlanta native and a cum laude graduate of the University of Georgia.

The chairman of the House committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson, introduced her as the first officer to get injured during the riots as protestors stormed the building.

Watch her full testimony here.

"Our two witnesses tonight were both there at the time of that first breach," Thompson said. "Officer Edwards was standing with other officers behind a line of bike racks that marked the perimeter of the Capitol grounds."

Thompson said during her attempt to secure the Capitol, she was overrun by the crowd and knocked unconscious. The committee played a video of the breach during the hearing.

Edwards described to lawmakers what she could only describe as the “war scene” that she and other officers faced when rioters began viciously attacking them on Jan. 6, 2021

“It was something like I’ve seen in movies. I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Edwards said. 

“There were officers on the ground. They were bleeding. I was slipping in people’s blood.”

“It was carnage," she said. "It was chaos.”

Her recollections of the day amounted to the latest moment in the spotlight for the police officers who fought for hours as a violent mob of pro-Trump rioters, some armed with pipes, bats and bear spray, charged into the Capitol, quickly overrunning the overwhelmed police force. More than 100 police officers were injured, many beaten, bloodied and bruised.

"I was called a lot of things on Jan. 6, 2021, and the days thereafter. I was called Nancy Pelosi's dog; called incompetent; called a hero -- and a villain," she said in her opening statement. "I was called a traitor to my country, my oath, and my Constitution -- in actuality, I was none of those things."

Edwards took a deep breath and with fervor continued her statement.

"I was an American, standing face-to-face with other Americans asking myself how many times, many, many times how we'd gotten here," she said. "I'd been called names before, but never have my patriotism or duty been called into question."

Edwards emphasized how she woke up every day proud to put on her uniform "to protect America's symbol of democracy." No matter the weather, situation, or risk, the public servant said she put on her badge so elected officials could safely do their jobs.

"I, whose literally blood, sweat, and tears, were shed that day defending the building that I spent countless holidays and weekends working in," she said. 

Even after suffering a traumatic brain injury, Edwards patrolled the Capitol’s West Plaza and prevented many rioters from entering the Capitol building, according to the committee's witness description of her.

The police officer said to protect and serve her country is in her blood, adding that she is a proud granddaughter of a Marine who fought in the Korean War. 

RELATED: Georgia could play a large role in Jan. 6 committee hearings

"I think of my Papa often in these days, how he was so young and thrown into a battle he never saw coming and answered the call at a great personal cost, how he lived the rest of his days with bullets and shrapnel in his legs -- but never once complained about his sacrifice," Edwards described. 

Though she did not go to war, Edwards said her grandfather would likely take pride in her decision on Jan. 6 of last year.

"I would like to think he would be proud of me," she said. "Proud of his granddaughter that stood her ground that day and continued fighting, even though she was wounded -- like he did, many years ago."

The Capitol police officer said the rioters "dared to question my honor" and it has led her to the seat she occupied in front of the panel Thursday night.

"I am a proud American and I will gladly sacrifice everything to make sure that the America my grandfather defended is here for many years to come," Edwards said, closing her statement.

Since Jan. 6, her injuries have prevented her from returning to her previous assignment as a member of the USCP First Responder Unit. She looks forward to returning to that duty this year after being physically cleared, according to the committee.

Watch her full testimony below.


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