Police officer who died in pro-Trump riot to lie in Capitol as family blames ‘political climate’

Family says fallen officer ‘spent his life trying to help other people’ while awaiting further information surrounding his death

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 02 February 2021 19:13 GMT
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The family of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of his injuries sustained during the pro-Trump riots in Washington last month, has called on the media and American public not to politicise his death as they await further answers as to what happened that day at the US Capitol.

“Please honor Brian’s life and service and respect our privacy while we move forward in doing the same,” the family said in a statement issued on Friday. “Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember.”

The 42-year-old officer suffered a stroke after he was pepper sprayed and collapsed during the deadly mob attacks on 6 January, ProPublica reported, as Congress convened to certify former President Donald Trump’s defeat in the 2020 elections. As the news outlet reported, Mr Sicknick’s family must now grapple with the fact that his death was the result of an act of political violence.

His body is due to lie in the Capitol Rotunda on Tuesday evening. Congress will hold a ceremonial arrival, after which a viewing period will be held overnight for members of the Capitol Police.

A viewing period for members of Congress will begin on Wednesday morning, before a ceremonial departure for Arlington National Cemetery, where Mr Sicknick will be interred.

Mr Sicknick’s eldest brother told the publication the USCP officer “spent his life trying to help other people” and added: “This political climate got my brother killed.”

In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D—CA) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D—NY) heralded the late officer’s service to the country.

“The heroism of Officer Sicknick and the Capitol Police force during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution,” the statement read. “His sacrifice reminds us every day of our obligation to our country and to the people we serve.”

The late officer’s family described him as “sweet” and “truly a lovely, humble soul” in a statement on 11 January.

“He was sweet natured through and through.  Everyone who met him adored him.  He also loved his dachshunds dearly, spoiling them, and ensuring they got the best care possible,” the family said, adding that Mr Sicknick “loved his job” with USCP.

“He was very serious about showing up to work on time and refused to call out sick unless absolutely necessary,” the statement continued. “Our loss of Brian will leave a large hole in our hearts.”

At least five people have died following the riots at the US Capitol last month, while scores of suspects have been charged over their alleged involvement in the mob, which breached security measures and clashed with police officers while storming the halls of government. Lawmakers were forced to evacuate to secure locations and hide in locked offices, with some having since said they feared for their lives.

The FBI said it has obtained over 100,000 pieces of digital evidence submitted by the public against suspects in the Capitol riots, many of whom posted on their social media accounts while storming the government building.

Mr Sicknick’s family also released a statement thanking lawmakers and the public for their support, saying: “The family of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick thanks the Congressional leadership for bestowing this historic honor on our fallen American hero.”

“We also wish to express our appreciation to the millions of people who have offered their support and sympathies during this difficult time,” the statement continued. “Knowing our personal tragedy and loss is shared by our nation brings hope for healing.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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