As stories emerged as to what happened inside and around the United States Capitol on January 6th of this year, one of the most tragic was the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. Unfortunately, as news of his death went public, conflicting reports, rumors and even politicking occurred.
On January 8th then-acting U.S. attorney general Jeffrey Rosen said Sicknick died of “the injuries he suffered defending the U.S. Capitol.” The New York Times reported that law enforcement officials told the paper rioters hit Sicknick with a fire extinguisher. However, “weeks later police investigators and medical examiners could not agree on a cause of death” reports National Review.
On Monday the chief medical examiner for Washington, D.C., told the Washington Post that the natural causes are to blame for the death of officer Sicknick just one day after the Capitol riot. The examiner, Francisco J. Diaz said Sicknick suffered two strokes the day after the riot, caused by a blood clot that prevented flow to the base of Sicknick’s brain stem. Diaz added “all that transpired” during the Capitol riot “played a role in his condition.”
Grieving family members of Sicknick also publicly denounced the politicization that transpired following the officer’s death. “He spent his life trying to help other people,” his oldest brother told ProPublica “this political climate got my brother killed.”
Two rioters are charged with attacking Sicknick with a chemical irritant, and Diaz says his findings will likely hinder efforts to prosecute the rioters with homicide. Acting deputy mayor for public safety told the Post the medical examiner’s office “took the appropriate amount of time to evaluate all the evidence” and added Diaz “felt he was able to make this call in good conscience.”
The Capitol Police also released a statement saying the department “accepts the findings” from the medical examiner that “Officer Brian Sicknick died of natural causes” but that “this does not change the fact that Officer Sicknick died in the line of duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol.”