Daily Video

June 10, 2021

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

Capitol Police officers embrace after paying their respects at the casket of the late U.S. Capitol Police officer William “Billy” Evans during a memorial service as Evans lies in honor in the Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, on April 13, 2021. Drew Angerer/Pool via REUTERS



Directions: Read the summary, watch the video and answer the discussion questions below. To read the transcript of the video above, click here.

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. 

Summary: 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

Discussion questions: 

Warm up questions: Have your students identify the 5Ws and an H:

  • 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:

  1. Do you think it’s important that the Senate report on Jan. 6 is bipartisan? Explain. 
  2. 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?

Dig deeper: 

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.


This Daily News Lesson was written by EXTRA intern Cecilia Curran and EXTRA’s Victoria Pasquantonio. Curran is a sophomore at Amherst College.

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