A Capitol Police officer who was on duty during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot announced on Friday that he is running for Congress in Maryland.
“On January 6th, I defended our democracy from insurrectionists as a Capitol Police Officer,” Dunn wrote on X Friday, a day before the three-year anniversary of the incident. “After, President Biden honored me with the Presidential Citizens Medal. Today, I’m running for Congress to stop Trump’s MAGA extremists & ensure it never happens again.”
Dunn, 40, said he stepped down from his police job several weeks ago to run for Congress, after 15 years as a Capitol police officer.
He’s joining a crowded Democratic primary for Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District, a heavily Democratic jurisdiction that stretches between Baltimore and the nation’s capital. Current Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., announced in October that he would not seek reelection.
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President Biden and Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn share a laugh before Biden presented him with a Presidential Citizens Medal during a White House ceremony to mark the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
In his campaign announcement video, also shared on X, Dunn is seen dressed in a button-down shirt and talking to the camera while walking down what looks like a Capitol hallway.
Actors posing as rioters cause destruction, as the date “Jan. 6th” flashes across the scene.
“On this day,” Dunn says, “My role was as a Capitol police officer. I’m Harry Dunn. And that meant putting aside who I am – a father, a Marylander, a Democrat – because I swore an oath to protect our Constitution, to protect our democracy. It’s what allowed me to protect some members of Congress who I knew were bigots who helped fan the flames that started all of this.”
“I put country above self,” Dunn says.
“The problem is, a lot of them didn’t,” he continues, walking through the dramatic reenactment of rioters waving flags through the halls and tearing down picture frames as congressional staffers flee. “Some of the same people who stood behind us when we protected them, went back on the floor of Congress and stood behind Trump. They voted to acquit him. And worst of all, they denied the violence and trauma that led to the death of some of my fellow officers. I couldn’t stand by and watch.”
The video transitions to actual footage of Dunn testifying before the Jan. 6 committee, speaking to reporters at the Capitol and appearing on network TV shows, including “The View.”
Harry Dunn, US Capitol Police officer, right, and Michael Fanone, retired Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer, second right, during a Jan. 6 House select committee meeting on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“I had another role to play. I used my voice to speak out, to get into good trouble,” he says, as footage plays of President Biden awarding Dunn the Presidential Citizens Medal last year and of Dunn testifying before the Jan. 6 committee. A fictional TV screen is then smashed as the ad transitions back to the Capitol riot reenactment scene. “And a few weeks ago, I left the force after more than 15 years of service so that today I can announce I’m running for Congress.”
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“We can’t ever let this happen again. And you’ve heard it from Trump himself. He is hellbent on finishing what he started this day. I’m stepping into a new role today, but I can’t do it alone. I believe every one of us has a role to play in this fight. So join me, we’ve got a democracy to protect.
Paul Pelosi, the husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks with Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Sarbanes, who has served nine terms, is one of about two dozen Democrats who are not seeking reelection in the House. Fourteen Republicans have said they are not seeking another term.
More than 1,230 people have been charged with federal crimes stemming from the riot, ranging from misdemeanor offenses like trespassing to felonies like assaulting police officers and seditious conspiracy. About 730 people have pleaded guilty to charges, while about 170 have been convicted of at least one charge at a trial decided by a judge or a jury, according to an Associated Press database.
Testifying before the Jan. 6 committee in 2021, Dunn recounted to lawmakers how rioters pouring into the Speaker’s Lobby by the Rotunda, some wearing “MAGA” hats and shirts that said “Trump 2020,” refused to leave, shouting things like, “No, no, man, this is our house,” “President Trump invited us here,” “We’re here to stop the steal,” “Joe Biden is not the president,” and, “Nobody voted for Joe Biden!”
Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn attends a Jan. 6 House select committee meeting on Monday, June 13, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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“I am a law enforcement officer, and I keep politics out of my job. But in this circumstance, I responded, ‘Well, I voted for Joe Biden. Does my vote not count? Am I nobody?'” Dunn testified.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.