Family of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick slams GOP lawmakers who blocked Jan. 6 commission as ‘not backing the blue’

Sicknick
Gladys Sicknick, the mother of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, stands with Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, left, and Sandra Garza, the partner of the late Officer Sicknick, far right.

  • Brian Sicknick’s family expressed disappointment with Senate GOP opposition to a Jan. 6 commission.
  • “Clearly, they’re not backing the blue … This cannot happen again,” Sandra Garza told CNN.
  • Officer Sicknick suffered two strokes and passed away on Jan. 7, a day after the riot.
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The family of fallen Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick expressed disappointment at Senate Republicans who on Friday blocked a bill from advancing that would have created a commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection.

During a CNN interview with anchor Jake Tapper, Brian’s mother, Gladys Sicknick, and his partner Sandra Garza said that after meeting with several GOP senators on Thursday, they held out hope that they could convince senators who were opposed to the commission to change their minds.

Gladys Sicknick said that the eventual outcome wasn’t totally shocking to her.

“They went through their motions, but you can tell that underneath they were being nice to us,” Gladys Sicknick told Tapper of her meetings on Thursday. “If they had a child that was hurt or killed on a day like that, they would think very differently. One of the congressmen could have been killed. Apparently, they think … ‘Well we’re safe because of the men in blue.'”

Officer Sicknick suffered two strokes and passed away on January 7, a day after fighting back rioters at the Capitol. The Washington, DC, chief medical examiner ruled that he died of natural causes.

Garza said that the pro-law enforcement rhetoric from opponents of the commission are “all talk and no action.”

“It speaks volumes to how they really feel, not only about the events of that day, but speaking volumes to their constituents and how much they really care,” she said. “It’s not just our pleas about how we felt about Brian and his brothers and sisters and blue, but also the safety of them and everyone else that was in the Capitol that day.

She added: “Clearly, they’re not backing the blue … This cannot happen again. It cannot. For them to vote no, it’s not protecting law enforcement, and more importantly, it’s not protecting our democracy.”

Read more: Democrats are already plotting political revenge for Republicans blocking the January 6 commission

Gladys Sicknick, Garza, Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, and DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone on Thursday met with over a dozen Republican senators after initially requesting meetings with all 50 GOP senators.

“They were very charming, they knew what they were doing, they knew how to talk to us, but we kind of held back,” Gladys Sicknick said. “It was just … it was tense.”

A motion to invoke cloture and advance the bill was defeated in a 54-35 vote, receiving the support of all present Democrats and six Republicans but failing to meet the 60-vote threshold to overcome a legislative filibuster.

Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, and Rob Portman of Ohio were the only Republicans to vote in favor of moving to debate on the bill.

Gladys Sicknick expressed hope that some of the GOP senators shifted their position because of their meetings.

“Maybe we changed their minds,” she said. “That would be great.”

Garza said many of the Republicans said they would reject the commission because it would be “partisan,” despite the legislation calling for an evenly split committee, with five members selected by congressional Democratic leaders and the other five members picked by GOP leaders.

“Well you know, that’s baloney,” she said. “I think they just don’t want to do the right thing. I think what you’re seeing is elitism at its finest.”

Still, Garza appeared upbeat about lawmakers continuing to push for answers to January 6.

“I’m hopeful at least they’ll be able to reflect on some of what we said as the days go on, and they’ll be able to start to get the ball rolling now.”

Gladys Sicknick, in seeking answers for her son, reflected on his valiance that day.

“I said this morning, I said I can’t believe I have a child that’s going to be in the history books for all the wrong reasons,” she said. “Because he was such a good person, and he was so good at his job. And he was texting all his buddies to see if they were ok on that day, while he was fighting for four-plus hours without any help.”

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Justice Department releases new videos it says shows the assault of officer Brian Sicknick during Capitol riot

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.

  • New video from the US Capitol attack shows the alleged assault of officer Brian Sicknick.
  • Prosecutors say Sicknick, who died one day after the riot, was sprayed with a chemical irritant.
  • A medical examiner ruled Sicknick died of natural causes, but said the siege “played a role in his condition.”
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The US Justice Department on Wednesday released a series of new videos that show the alleged assault of officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 Capitol attack, including the moment prosecutors say a protester sprayed a substance at Sicknick, which caused him to retreat behind the police line to wash out his eyes.

Sicknick, 42, died one day after the siege, and was lauded as a hero in the aftermath of the attack. Earlier in April, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington, DC, ruled Sicknick died of natural causes. The medical examiner found the officer had two strokes before his death. He told The Washington Post, “all that transpired” during the Capitol riot “played a role in [Sicknick’s] condition.

The videos have been cited as evidence in cases against two men charged with assaulting Sicknick during the riot by spraying a chemical irritant at him. George Tanios of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Julia Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, were arrested in March and charged with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting an officer with a dangerous weapon, among other charges related to their participation in the Capitol attack.

Tanios and Khater have not been charged in relation to Sicknick’s death.

Prosecutors had previously described and played the videos in court hearings for the two men, but Wednesday marked the first time the footage became available to the public. The agency initially rejected media organizations’ requests to release the video, citing possible security concerns, but the Justice Department later complied after a coalition of 14 media organizations filed a legal motion in federal court, citing the public’s “powerful interest” in seeing the video evidence, according to NPR.

The footage was taken by six surveillance cameras in the vicinity of the riot, three DC police body cameras, and one bystander’s cell phone video, according to NBC News.

In the videos, Khater can be seen wearing a “beanie with a pom-pom on top” while Tanios is visible wearing a red baseball hat. In a criminal affidavit, prosecutors say the video shows Khater and Tanios approaching a police line on the Lower West Terrace of the Capitol building, where Sicknick and other officers were positioned.

Around 2:14 p.m., prosecutors say Khater “is seen making his way toward Tanios, then reaching into his backpack, stating, “Give me that bear shit.” Tanios reportedly responds “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet … it’s still early.”

Khater retrieves a canister from Tanios’ backpack and walks to an area within “a few steps” of the police perimeter, court records said. Prosecutors say the video shows Khater aiming the canister in the direction of the officers while “moving his arm from side to side.”

Legal documents said Capitol police officers Sicknick and Caroline Edwards, and Metropolitan Police Department officer D. Chapman, were all standing within a few feet of Khater and all reacted to being sprayed in the face, retreating and bringing their “hands to their eyes and rushing to find water to wash out their eyes.”

The DC medical examiner told The Post Sicknick did not have an allergic reaction to chemical irritants that could have caused his throat to swell.

Neither Khater, nor Tanios is accused of breaching the Capitol during the riot.

In a motion for pretrial release, Khater’s defense argued it is possible the chemical spray that momentarily debilitated Sicknick and the other officers could have come from other law-enforcement officers, given the use of chemical sprays by police. Tanios’ defense has said he “emphatically denies each charge” against him.

Both men remain detained while awaiting a May 6 hearing.

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Judge rules that a Capitol protester accused of attacking police with bear spray will stay in jail

Capitol riot
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021.

  • A man accused of carrying bear spray to attack police officers on January 6 will stay in jail.
  • A federal judge ruled Monday that George Tanios will be detained ahead of his trial.
  • Tanios’ friends and family members testified on his behalf, saying he was kind and non-violent.
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A federal judge lambasted a West Virginia man accused of carrying and using bear spray to attack Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick during the January 6 insurrection before ruling the defendant would stay in jail ahead of his trial.

In a Monday court hearing, prosecutors revealed new video of Sicknick and other officers reacting to being sprayed during the pro-Trump siege earlier this year.

George Tanios of Morgantown, West Virginia, and Julian Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, were arrested on March 14 and charged with conspiring to injure officers and assaulting federal officers, among other charges relating to their participation in the January 6 attack, according to the Department of Justice.

The agency said the two men were seen in video footage working together to “assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes.”

In court Monday, the Justice Department showed video of Sicknick and two other officers reacting to allegedly being sprayed by Khater, according to CNN. One video reportedly captures the three officers being sprayed, while another captures Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards saying, “I got it right in the eye,” the outlet reported.

Sicknick, 42, died one day after the riot. He was hospitalized following the attack with injuries he sustained during the chaos, but investigators have not released an official cause of death, nor have they tied the alleged bear spray incident to his death.

During the investigation, law enforcement officials discovered video of Khater asking Tanios to “give me that bear s*it, according to the criminal affidavit. Tanios reportedly responds, “Hold on, hold on, not yet…it’s still early.” Khater then retrieves a canister from Tanios’ backpack and walks to an area within “a few steps” of the police perimeter, legal documents said.

The video reportedly shows Khater aiming a canister in the direction of the officers while “moving his arm from side to side.” Court documents said Capitol Police Officers Sicknick, Edwards, and Metropolitan Police Department Officer D. Chapman were all standing within a few feet of Khater and all reacted to being sprayed in the face, retreating and bringing their “hands to their faces and rushing to find water to wash out their eyes.”

Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi told the courtroom Monday it was hard for him to “look at this as anything other than an assault on this nation’s heart,” according to The Daily Beast.

“Why would you not just turn the other way and go home?” Aloi reportedly said. “The fact that all of them weren’t thinking about that is just frightening to me. And that was a choice. Choices all along the way,” Aloi said during Tanios’ hearing.

Aloi’s decision to detain Tanios ahead of his trial came after more than half a dozen witnesses, including Tanios’ former employees, friends, and family members, were called by the defendant’s legal team and told the court Tanios was non-violent, the Beast reported. His sister, Maria Boutros reportedly testified that her brother was a “jokester who worked too many hours” and had never previously been in legal trouble.

“We have no doubt that Mr. Tanios’ family loves him very much, but we would just point out that these family and community ties were in place before he committed these crimes that he’s accused of,” said Assistant US Attorney Sarah Wagner on Monday.

Aloi noted that Tanios appears to have bought the bear spray prior to the event in DC, according to CNN. The outlet also reported that his co-defendant, Khater, who remains in jail, had spoken to the FBI about Tanios, confirming the alleged plan to obtain bear and pepper spray prior to the rally.

“They were supporting a president who would not accept that he was defeated in an election,” CNN reported Aloi said. “We’ve created this culture, radicalized by hate…to refuse to accept the result of the democratic process.”

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FBI pinpoints a single suspect in the death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick

brian sicknick capitol police
A U.S. Capitol Police officer stands at the door of the Capitol Rotunda near where the late U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick will lie in honor Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Washington.

  • Federal investigators have a suspect in the killing of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick.
  • The probe was narrowed after video footage showed the suspect attacking officers with bear spray.
  • The assailant has not yet been publicly named by federal investigators.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

The FBI has narrowed in on a suspect in the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, The New York Times reported Friday.

Sicknick was among the Capitol Police officers who defended the US Capitol against a pro-Trump mob on January 6. He succumbed to injuries sustained during the riot a day later, on January 7.

Officials initially said Sicknick was struck by a fire extinguisher, but later said there was no evidence to suggest that he died from blunt force trauma. Federal investigators then launched a probe to look into whether bear spray – a ┬áchemical irritant used by rioters during the insurrection – could instead have played a role in Sicknick’s death.

After questioning dozens of people, investigators zeroed in on a single suspect after a video showed the individual using bear spray on other officers, law enforcement officials told The Times. Another video also showed the suspect discussing plans to assault officers with bear spray, according to one of the officials.

The assailant has not yet been publicly named by federal investigators.

Christina Laury, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC, had previously mentioned that rioters sprayed chemical irritants at officers who were preventing them from entering the Capitol.

“By the time I got there, officers were already getting, you know, sprayed with whatever these individuals had, which I believe they had bear mace, which is literally used for bears,” Laury told WJLA.

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told reporters earlier this month that Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman told him that he “had to breathe a lot of bear spray and tear gas and that he was nauseated” during the insurrection.

Goodman recently received a Congressional Gold Medal for his role in diverting a mob of rioters away from the Senate chamber where lawmakers were taking refuge. He also led Romney away from the crowd that breached the Capitol as he passed him in the hall.

Sicknick was one of three officers who died following the Capitol riots – two other officers died by suicide.

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