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U.S. Capitol Police officer shares firsthand account of Jan. 6 attack

June 10, 2021


Warning: This video contains the use of the N-word when describing phrases used during the events of Jan. 6. All expletives have been censored. 

A day after the release of a Senate report detailing the widespread security failures in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, PBS NewsHour spoke with one of the police officers on the scene that day. Officer James Blassingame, a 17-year veteran of the Capitol Police who is involved in a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, joined Lisa Desjardins to discuss his experiences when a violent mob stormed the Capitol. His story is one of many harrowing experiences from Jan. 6, 2021. 

Key terms:

partisan: a strong supporter of a political party, cause or person

bipartisan: cooperation or agreement of two political parties that usually oppose each other’s policies

Five Facts

  • Who is Officer James Blassingame? 
  • Why is Blassingame filing a lawsuit?
  • What are some of the ways Blassingame describes his experiences from Jan. 6, 2021? 
  • When did the bipartisan report from the Senate come out?
  • Where are the senators featured in the clip from? 
  • How were Republican members of Congress describing the events of Jan. 6th in the video?

Focus Questions

Do you think it’s important that the Senate report on Jan. 6 is bipartisan? Explain. 

What are some advantages and disadvantages of making sure the report is bipartisan?

Media literacy: What parts of this video contributed to your understanding of Officer Blassingame’s perspective? What forms of media (photo, social media, text, etc.) could have been added to help your understanding of the story?

For More

To learn more about the events of Jan. 6th, see the PBS NewsHour clips below:

  • For more resources on teaching about the insurrection, check out this PBS NewsHour Extra classroom resource.
  • For a fuller picture of the Jan. 6 riot, click here.

Media literacy education

What is media literacy?

Media literacy is the ability to access, evaluate and create all types of media, including news media.

All of NewsHour Classroom's resources contain lessons in media literacy, including questions like who produced the piece and what do you know about them?

Start by evaluating this video introducing NewsHour Classroom here.