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Pleading the 6th

january 6 trump riot
A new harrowing and (extremely) intense documentary, The Sixth, tells the story of January 6 through six people who lived through the violence, just by showing up for work that day. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
Peter Hamby
May 13, 2024

The storming of the U.S. Capitol was a singular moment in the history of the United States—and yet, somehow, the day feels more and more memory-holed. In a new poll out today, The New York Times and Siena College found that only 5 percent of Americans named January 6, 2021, as the thing they remember most from Donald Trump’s presidency. Sure, there’s a lot to remember, but a bloodthirsty attack on the seat of American democracy doesn’t feel like it should only be a footnote. Maybe it’s the politics of it all, maybe it’s our feeble attention spans, or maybe it’s just that the ghastly violence on January 6 doesn’t fit into the tidy narratives we tell ourselves about the character of this country. Are we just choosing to forget?

Filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine want to make sure that’s not the case. Their harrowing and (extremely) intense documentary, The Sixth, produced by A24 and Change Content, tells the story of January 6 through six people who lived through the violence, just by showing up for work that day: D.C. Metro police officers Daniel Hodges and Christina Laury, former D.C. police chief Robert Contee III, freelance photographer Mel Cole, former congressional staffer Erica Loewe, and Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin