U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick passed away after suffering two strokes. According to the medical examiner, he died of natural causes, not as a result of his confrontation with rioters as the media has previously reported.
Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz confirmed that Sicknick did not die from an allergic reaction to bear spray and he was not beaten to death by a fire extinguisher. Instead, two separate strokes took his life. But that is not what was told to the American people following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. For months, media outlets, the U.S. Attorney, and many Democrats claimed that the officer’s death was the fault of former President Trump and protesters. The FBI refused to confirm how the officer died.
The official cause of death was from “acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis.” The medical examiner reported that Sicknick was doused with bear spray at approximately 2:20 p.m. on Jan. 6 and collapsed at about 10 p.m. that evening. The officer passed away at approximately 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7. Diaz vaguely told the Washington Post that the riot “played a role in his condition.” Two men were arrested for assaulting Sicknick with bear spray during the course of the Capitol riot: George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Julian Elie Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania. Authorities did not charge them with Sicknick’s death, but they do face charges that include conspiracy to injure an officer and assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon. Each charge could get them a maximum of 20 years behind bars and a $250,000 fine. Both have pleaded not guilty.
The cause of death all but ensures that the Justice Department will be unable to pursue murder charges in Sicknick’s death.
Sicknick “was injured while physically engaging with protesters,” Capitol Police previously claimed. “He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.” His mother stated that she believed her son died of a stroke.
The officer was cremated and his ashes were honored at the Capitol on February 3 with many politicians attending. A medical examination would have taken place before the cremation and yet it took three months for the cause of death to be released.
Capitol Police released a statement on Monday saying that it “accepts the findings from the Office of the Medical Examiner, but this does not change the fact Officer Brian Sicknick died in the Line of Duty, courageously defending Congress and the Capitol.”
“The Department continues to mourn the loss of our beloved colleague. The attack on our officers, including Brian, was an attack on our democracy,” the statement said doubling down on previous statements. Conservatives were outraged after the ruling by the medical examiner. Radio host Buck Sexton was very blunt: “Anyone who tells you it takes over 3 months after an autopsy to figure out if someone died from a stroke is either an idiot or a liar This information was hidden from you on purpose.”
Sexton is far from alone. Many want an explanation concerning the determination of death and the length of time it took to release it.