Republican Sen. Ron Johnson sent a letter to the acting chief of U.S. Capitol Police, demanding answers about the law enforcement agency’s Jan. 7 press release that claimed officer Brian Sicknick, whom medical examiners determined died of natural causes, died due to “injuries sustained while on-duty” after “physically engaging with protestors.”
Reports from the Washington, D.C. chief medical examiner released last week definitely stated that Sicknick “suffered two strokes and died of natural causes” after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and that there was “no evidence” that he “suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants” deployed during the chaos. The Capitol Police, however, Johnson noted, did not wait for this conclusion to address the public.
“This finding raises more questions about what USCP knew and what actions USCP took to confirm certain facts regarding Officer Sicknick’s death before it released its January 7 statement,” Johnson wrote. “It remains unclear why the USCP released a statement regarding Officer Sicknick’s cause of death months before the medical examiner made an official determination.”
This discrepancy, Johnson continued, not only spurred on corporate media to run with false narratives that rioters caused Sicknick’s death, such as the New York Times’ patently false fire extinguisher story, but it also played a role in the Democrats’ second impeachment trial for then-President Donald Trump. It wasn’t until late February that USCP bothered to address these false claims
“Absent any official rulings from the medical examiner’s office and following unsupported claims regarding Officer Sicknick’s cause of death, including the USCP’s initial statement, the USCP stated on February 26, 2021, that ‘Officer Sicknick’s family has asked for privacy during this difficult time and that the spreading of misinformation stop regarding the cause of his death,’” Johnson continued.
In light of the media and activists’ severe mistreatment of Sicknick’s death, Johnson asked that acting Chief of Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman give Congress details about Sicknick up to the time of his death and what led USCP to release the false statement. The Wisconsin senator also requested details on what “misinformation” USCP was referring to in the February statement, whether Democrats asked for information about Sicknick before proceeding with Trump’s impeachment, and if USCP made any attempts to correct their amplification of the Times’ false claims about Sicknick’s death by a fire extinguisher.
“The death of any police officer is a tragedy and the use of any officer’s death for political purposes or to create a false narrative is reprehensible and disrespectful to the officer’s family and the officer’s memory,” Johnson said.
Johnson concluded by inquiring how many other agencies, including the FBI, the Office of Professional Responsibility, and possibly the Office of Inspector General, were involved in the investigation. Pittman will have until May 6 to respond.