Newly released video captured the brutal attacks and terrifying situation a Capitol Police officer endured just two weeks before he took his own life.
Officer Jeff Smith's body camera footage reveals the sad reality of what unfolded in the halls of the Capitol building on January 6, 2021.
In it, the police officer is seen facing a barrage of physical and verbal attacks from rioters.
People scream and line the walls of the monument as officers pass.
A woman is seen telling Smith, “Get a real job. We no longer support you.”
Outside, someone else repeatedly shouts, “You stand with the criminals! You stand with the criminals!'
Then another person wearing a Make America Great Again sweatshirt chimes in: “They're not here to protect the world. They are here to protect a bunch of child rapists and corrupt politicians!”
Capitol Police officers also appear to be dealing with a number of physical altercations.
At one point, the officer is seen engaging in a struggle, thrown into a mob, where someone grabs his baton and starts using it against him.
Shortly after the fight, a fellow officer is heard asking the officer, “Are you okay, Smith?” as she appears to take a quick breath to collect herself. Smith then grabs his helmet and resumes his task.
Later, Smith is heard talking to another officer, in disbelief that the Capitol doors aren't locked as they try to remove the rioters from the building.
“It's the US Capitol and they don't have a way to lock the door?” he asks.
The other officer says the rioters broke the hinge on the way in.
At some point during the riot, a metal pole flew into the air, hitting Smith.
He is seen on camera footage saying he was “hit in the face with a piece of metal”.
Two weeks after that horrifying day, Smith died by suicide. He had no history of depression, medical experts said at the time, and a medical examiner concluded he died of “post-concussion syndrome.”
Smith was one of four Capitol Police officers who killed themselves after the attack.
“He became more distant. He got angry. He was very short-tempered. And he wasn't himself,” his widow Erin Smith said of her late husband after his death.
This behavior was “very arbitrary” to him.
The never-before-seen footage comes after House Speaker Mike Johnson announced he would release the Jan. 6 tapes. Mr. Johnson said on Nov. 17 that “almost all of the material” would be available on the House Administration Committee's website, meaning more than 40,000 hours of tapes from the violent uprising.
If you're feeling distressed or struggling to cope, you can talk to the Samaritans, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email [email protected], or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. If you live in the US and you or someone you know needs mental health help right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is a free, confidential crisis hotline available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to www.befrienders.org to find a helpline near you.