We did not know Harry Dunn until that evil day of Jan. 6, 2021, when the defeated President of the United States unleased a swarm of cut-throats and misfits and racists on the Capitol building.
Harry Dunn was in the middle – set up by a mixture of incompetence and malice within the government. No warning, no equipment, no backup. He and other Capitol police had to fight for their lives, mostly using bare hands against thugs sent by Donald Trump.
Now their struggle for life is part of the record. With dignity and intelligence, Harry Dunn has testified to the Jan. 6 committee and has given interviews to the media.
He is a familiar figure, a huge man – 6 feet, 7 inches, 325 pounds, a former lineman for James Madison University, the national Division I-AA champions in 2005. His bulk and his desperation saved his life, and his humble wit and wry smile and his college-educated vocabulary have made him a familiar figure.
I was going to write about Harry Dunn and his new book anyway, but on Friday morning I learned he is running to replace John P. Sarbanes, who is retiring.
According to Luke Broadwater of the New York Times, five members of the Maryland state legislature have also announced their intention to run.
It is doubtful that any of those candidates have had the public testing of Harry Dunn, since the day he fought for his life, only to hear racist slurs against him, and see rioters flash their own police shields and say they were staging the “demonstration” to help the country.
“At one point, I confronted a group of terrorists in the crypt,” Dunn recalled in an interview with Broadwater on Feb. 21, 2021 “There were downed officers behind me, and I’m like, ‘I have to hold this hallway.’ I’m tired, but I said, ‘Y’all not coming through here.’ They said, ‘We’re coming. This is our house. We’re taking over.’ That’s when I said, ‘We’ve got dozens of downed officers here. Why are y’all doing this? Get out!’
"I guess it was a group of the Oath Keepers and they appeared to be concerned. ‘Officers are hurt?’ That’s when one guy said, ‘We’re doing this for you,’ and showed me his badge. He was an officer. But they didn’t get through me. Only one person attempted to get through me at that time, and he met the floor. He met the floor. Finally, officers with armored gear responded and held that area.”
At one point, Dunn defended the office of Nancy Pelosi, then the speaker of the House, and a chief target of the mob that seemed poised to lynch her.
Later Dunn sized up what had happened that day:
“I sat down on a bench with a friend of mine who is also a Black Capitol Police officer and told him about the racial slurs I had endured,” Mr. Dunn recalled during his testimony to the Jan. 6 committee. He added that he “became very emotional,” asking how such a thing could happen and yelling, “‘Is this America?’”
“I began sobbing, and officers came over to console me,” he said.
Harry Dunn has become a familiar figure – often appearing with Nicolle Wallace of MSNBC and other interviewers.
In October, Dunn released his book, “Standing My Ground: Standing My Ground: A Capitol Police Officer’s Fight for Accountability and Good Trouble After January 6th,” by Hachette Books.
During the Congressional hearings, Harry Dunn sat with fellow officers who had been injured by the mob that day. When rogue officers and service veterans stormed the capitol, some members of Congress used their military training to escort colleagues toward safety.
"Get the troops out of the hot sun" -- that's the first thing I was taught in college ROTC.
At the moment, it seems to me that Harry Dunn, proclaimed candidate, has the stature, physical and moral and mental, to help protect this threatened country.