Brian Sicknick was a Trump-supporting U.S. Capitol Police officer and military veteran who has died of injuries suffered during a pro-Trump riot on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol building, authorities say. Sicknick was injured while “physically engaging” with rioters, the U.S. Capitol Police Department said in a statement. He died at 9:30 p.m. on January 7, the department said.
There is a graphic video circulating that some believe shows the mob beating Officer Sicknick. However, that video turned out to not be Sicknick. An Arkansas man named Peter Stager now stands accused by authorities of being the man beating that other officer with a flagpole. He says he thought the officer was Antifa, the complaint says.
Heavy found a Twitter account in Sicknick’s name. It indicates that he was a Donald Trump supporter; the cover photo is Trump’s plane. The account has been temporarily restricted for “unusual activity.” On Facebook, his cover photo is of an American flag. The mayor of South River, New Jersey, where the officer was from, told My Central New Jersey, “The family has requested privacy at this time and said Brian did his job.”
You can donate to a fund to help Officer Sicknick’s family here.
Reuters interviewed Sicknick’s father, who gave more details of what happened to his son. “As rioters overpowered Capitol police, Sicknick was pepper-sprayed and hit in the head, his father said. Ambulance crews resuscitated him twice as he was rushed to a nearby Washington hospital. Sicknick died the next day,” Reuters reported.
“He ended up with a clot on the brain,” his father told Reuters. “If they had operated on him, he would’ve become a vegetable.”
Lt. Col. Barbara Brown, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey National Guard, told My Central New Jersey, “Staff Sgt. Sicknick’s commitment to service and protect his community, state and nation will never be forgotten.”
The officer’s death was first reported by Nexstar Media Group reporter Alexandra Limon and The New York Times. The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Nexstar Media Group, which owns several local news stations, reported he was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher and later suffered a stroke. Sicknick, 42, was a New Jersey native but lived in Springfield, Virginia.
“Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured while engaging with protesters Wednesday and returned to his division office, where he collapsed,” NBC News reported.
After reports of the officer’s death circulated, Daily Beast reported that his brother told the outlet Sicknick had not died but that “he was on a ventilator with a blood clot on his brain and that it ‘did not look good.’” According to Limon, he was kept on life support until his family could get to the hospital, but he was then “taken off life support and died.”
The officer was struck in the head “by a rioter,” according to Limon. The name of the suspect, or their political affiliation, was not immediately clear. It was the second death to stem from violence at the Capitol; a San Diego Trump supporter named Ashli Babbitt was shot and killed by a different Capitol Police officer as she attempted to climb through a window into a lobby area where members of Congress were sheltered after fleeing as the mob came into the building. Three other people died of medical incidents.
Here’s what you need to know about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick:
1. The Officer’s Social Media Featured Patriotic Themes & a Democratic Staffer Recalled How He Comforted Her After the 2016 Election Even Thought He Supported Trump & She Was in Tears
Visible posts on Sicknick’s private Facebook page featured American flags and patriotic themes. A 1998 article in the Central New Jersey Home News said that then Airman Brian D. Sicknick was the son of Charles and Gladys Sicknick of South River. At the time he was “a security-force apprentice assigned to the 108th Air Refueling Wing” at McGuire Air Force Base, the outlet reported. He was a 1997 graduate of Middlesex County Vocational Technical High School in East Brunswick.
“Officer Sicknick was the officer posted at the door of the Capitol I entered through every day for two years. He was mostly quiet, but always had jokes and a quick sense of humor,” wrote Caroline Behringer on Twitter. She’s worked for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. “he day that Trump won the election, I came to work in tears. When he saw me walking up, he had the other officers hold the doors open for me and help me inside. I collapsed in tears and he held me while I cried, even though I knew he supported Trump.”
According to the Capitol Police statement, Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol while on duty and was injured during a physical altercation with members of the mob of Trump supporters who stormed the building. “He returned to the division office and collapsed,” the department said. “He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”
The department wrote, specifically, that he “was injured while physically engaging with protesters.”
According to the Capitol Police, Sicknick’s death will be investigated by the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the U.S. Capitol Police and their federal partners.
2. Sicknick Was a 15-Year Veteran of the Capitol Police Force & He Served 2 Tours in the Middle East While in the National Guard
According to the Daily Beast, Sicknick was also a former Air National Guardsman who served in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom. Sicknick was from New Jersey and lived in Springfield, Virginia.
My Central New Jersey explained, “Sicknick deployed to Saudi Arabia in 1999 in support of Operation Southern Watch. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks he served in Kyrgyzstan, in support of the war in Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged in 2003.”
He became a police officer after leaving the military.
Sicknick wrote a dozen letters to the editor of the Central New Jersey Home News between 1998 and 2005. In 2000 he wrote, “With the military drastically downsizing, the National Guard and Reserves are called upon more than ever. I understand this may cause a hardship on the employers,” he wrote. “There still are some employers in New Jersey that give guardsmen and reservists a hard time when they have to serve.”
He said that “these employers have to start realizing that reservists make up more than 50 percent of the military. They have to start giving these men and women some slack. In order to keep the freedoms we enjoy so much, we must rely on reservists.”
In another letter to the Central New Jersey Home News in 2001, he wrote that the government did not give proper assistance to veterans. He said he was deployed to the Middle East for 45 days two years before.
He discovered that, “according to a rather ambiguous law, New Jersey National Guard members should receive full salary from state, county or municipal employers up to 90 days of a deployment. My employer, which falls into this category, chose to pay the difference between my military pay and my regular pay.”
Sicknick said that the “Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, along with the Attorney General’s Office, offered little assistance. I have written a staggering number of letters to elected officials in both the state and federal governments. Only one state senator responded. It turned out, he couldn’t help either.
“After discovering the incompetence of the government, It turned into a legal battle between my employer and me,” he wrote. Thus he was not enlisting for a second term in the National Guard. “I am no longer going to risk my life in hostile environments around the globe for a government that does not care about the troops. I feel that I had a simple problem the government could have easily solved.”
In a 1998 letter, he weighed in supporting war with Iraq, saying that he thought war was “justifiable in this case. If we continue to have our troops just sit and watch, Saddam will keep building up his weapons. … Unfortunately, innocent people will die. That is part of war.”
By 2003, though, he wrote that an “unnecessary war” was taking place. He said with “other major problems going on in this country, there is no room for blatantly partisan politics.” He argued that the Bush administration “has its hands grasped firmly on the puppet strings of conservative senators.”
In 2003, he again made it clear he was no fan of George W. Bush, writing, “I believe we should have regime change here in America. It’s time to oust the arrogant oil hacks that occupy the White House.”
In 2004, he wrote to The Central New Jersey Home News to “implore everyone to vote their conscience in the upcoming presidential election.” He expressed support for Democratic candidate John Kerry and said foreign policy under the Bush administration had made the world more dangerous and that “everyone is brainwashed that only Bush can protect us.”
“No more rewarding incompetent politicians with a second term,” he wrote.
According to the Capitol Police, Sicknick joined the department in July 2008 and was assigned to the department’s First Responders Unit. “The entire department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague.”
3. The Capitol Police Chief Resigned After Questions About Capitol Security
Babbitt, pictured above, died after a Capitol Police officer, still not identified, shot and killed her as she tried to climb through a window into the House Speaker’s lobby.
Questions were raised after the mob got into the Capitol as to why Capitol Police were not better prepared and even milled around inside while rioters were occupying offices and running around the Senate floor.
The chief, Steven Sund, announced he would resign after the union head criticized police response, saying officers were “frustrated and demoralized” by it, according to NBC News.
Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance Gainer told the Today show that the Capitol Police response to the riots was a “failure” and “raises a lot of questions.”
“Clearly there’s failures,” he said. “There has to be a lot of questions asked and answers given. What is very clear is the police underestimated the violent crowd and the size of it, and they overestimated their ability to control it.”
4. Lawmakers Say the Mob Who Attacked & Led to Sicknick’s Death & ‘Those Who Instigated Them’ Should Be Held ‘Fully Accountable’
Democratic Representatives Tim Ryan of Ohio and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, who chair the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee and House Appropriations Committee respectively, issued a statement after Sicknick’s death.
“Our hearts break over the senseless death of United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was injured in the line of duty during yesterday’s violent assault on the Capitol. Our prayers are with his family, friends, and colleagues on the force,” the lawmakers said. “This tragic loss should remind all of us of the bravery of the law enforcement officers who protected us, our colleagues, Congressional staff, the press corps, and other essential workers yesterday.”
DeLauro and Ryan added, “To honor Officer Sicknick’s memory, we must ensure that the mob who attacked the People’s House and those who instigated them are held fully accountable.”
DeLauro and Ryan previously called for a review of the law enforcement response to the riot and the preparation ahead of the events. Their committees oversee the Capitol Police budget.
5. More Than 50 Officers Were Injured in the Riots
According to The Hill, more than 50 officers were injured during the Capitol riots and 15 were hospitalized.
Congress was debating certification of Electoral College votes when a mob breached the Capitol. Some of those inside the Capitol have been identified as pro-Trump supporters and QAnon followers.
There were reports and images of a podium being taken, people were running around the Senate chambers, and a rioter even posed at a dais as another sat at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk.
One rioter, Babbitt, an Air Force veteran who owned a pool services business in San Diego, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer during the siege of the Capitol
Capitol Police released this news release on Babbitt’s death:
United States Capitol Police (USCP) officers and our law enforcement partners responded valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions as they stormed the United States Capitol Building. These individuals actively attacked United States Capitol Police Officers and other uniformed law enforcement officers with metal pipes, discharged chemical irritants, and took up other weapons against our officers. They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage.
As protesters were forcing their way toward the House Chamber where Members of Congress were sheltering in place, a sworn USCP employee discharged their service weapon, striking an adult female. Medical assistance was rendered immediately, and the female was transported to the hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries. She has been identified as Ashli Babbitt.
As per the USCP’s policy, the USCP employee has been placed on administrative leave and their police powers have been suspended pending the outcome of a joint Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) and USCP investigation.