DUNMORE, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — With violence on the rise all over the world, a local civic group is looking to spread awareness. Marywood University hosted an anti-violence discussion Thursday and 28/22 News Reporter Emily Allegrucci was there.

The night revolved around how to avoid violence, but also how to face it.

A former police officer who was involved in the riots at the capitol shared his story of violence from that day.

The defenders of democracy believe it has a new vision of confronting violence.

The advocacy organization hosted a community discussion on how to confront the rise of violence locally and nationally.

“We help people safety plan, and navigate their environment, and help people understand that so they can survive their experience,” said Marywood University Psychologist and Assistant Professor Doctor Matthew Schaffer.

Former Washington DC Metropolitan Police Officer, Michael Fanone, understands the dangers of facing brutality more than most.

“This community wants to talk about violence in all forms, and I have experience in dealing with violence at a local and also a national level,” said Fanone.

Fanone was one of hundreds of first responders at the January 6 riots at the US Capitol – he was also one of those who barely made it out alive.

“Somebody is protesting something in Washington DC 365 days out of the year. I mean you really had to be blind not to recognize the potential for violence there,” Fanone explained.

Fanone was working in narcotics for a decade when the riot broke out. He willingly suited up for the first time in 10 years when he heard the cries for help.

“I heard the distress calls coming from the capitol and myself, like hundreds of members of our department voluntarily dispatched themselves,” Fanone said.

Upon arrival, he joined dozens of officers in the Lower West Terrace tunnel fighting from inside the capitol, but his situation quickly changed.

“While I was there, I was pulled from the police line out into the crowd,” Fanone added.

Fanone was badly beaten by members of the crowd and tazed numerous times.

“What you’re listening to is, that kind of velcro noise, is Daniel Rodriguez, applying a tazer device to my neck,” Fanone explained.

The brutal attack left him with traumatic brain injury and caused him to have a heart attack, eventually losing consciousness.

Although Fanone almost lost his life, he survived – giving him the opportunity to share his story and spread violence awareness all over the country to communities like ours.

Michael Fanone is also the author of, Hold the Line. if you are interested in hearing more about his story, the book details the January 6 riots along with other issues he has experienced.