By Richard Elliott
(WASHINGTON, DC – January 9, 2024) – A Capitol Police officer who bravely protected congressional members during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack is now running for Congress in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District.
Harry Dunn left the police in December after 15 years of service. He gained worldwide recognition for his emotional testimony in front of a House committee investigating the Jan. 6th insurrection, and now aims to achieve a “safe and secure America” during one of the most divided times in history.
Dunn said his focus would be on protecting democracy and fighting back against forces seeking to undermine it. He promised to prioritize the needs of Americans and bring Congress back to its main mission of serving the people.
In an interview, Dunn cited his service “on the frontlines to defend the Constitution and democracy” alongside his longtime service within the Congress itself to have personal knowledge and relationships within the institution to advance his stated goals: codifying protections for reproductive rights and voting rights into federal law, supporting gun control and upgrading the state’s infrastructure to improve traffic safety and commute times.
He cited the members of the January 6th Investigation Committee, especially Jamie Raskin, as inspirational and he plans to seek the guidance and counsel of sitting Members of Congress to best understand and work within the chamber.
“On January 6, 2021, I did my duty as a police officer and as an American and defended our nation’s Capitol from violent insurrectionists,” Dunn said. “Today, I’m running for Congress because the forces that spurred that violent attack are still at work, and as a patriotic American, it is my duty to defend our democracy.”
He noted the additional challenge of being a Black officer on Jan. 6.
“A lot of us Black officers fought a different battle than everybody else fought,” Dunn said. “That’s when I said, ‘Is this America?’ and I started crying. Tears are coming down my face. ‘Is this America?’”
In 2023, President Joe Biden gave Dunn the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second-highest civilian award, for outstanding service to the country or fellow citizens.
“I think it’s important to note that I accept this medal not as a Capitol Hill Police officer, a job I have held for 15 years,” Dunn said during the October ceremony. “Rather, I am here as an American. What I did on January 6, I did as a police officer. It was my job. But what I have done every day since, I do because I am an American.”
After the traumatic events in which supporters of the twice-impeached former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol, Dunn became one of the few officers who openly talked about the violent incident. He testified before Congress about the difficult experiences he and his colleagues had.
According to the National Press Club, Dunn is 6 feet 7 inches tall and worked as a certified crisis negotiation and crisis intervention officer for the U.S. Capitol Police.
He credits his upbringing in Prince George’s County, Maryland, for instilling in him the values of respecting people. Dunn graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, with a degree in public health education and promotion. He sees similarities between his football background and his law enforcement career, stating, “In sports, you learn to work together to achieve common goals.”
Dunn expressed enthusiasm for running for office to address important issues such as mental health, crime, gun control, and infrastructure.
“My platform is democracy,” he said.