The life and death of Officer Brian Sicknick
By Mark Alexander
I have waited five weeks to write what I instinctively suspected a day after Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died. I waited, anticipating that evidence would emerge confirming Officer Sicknick's actual cause of death, and hoping for evidence to dissuade the inescapable conclusion that, irrespective of how he died, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), et al., used his casket as a political prop for their impeachment inquisition of former President Donald Trump.
Having started my career as a law enforcement officer, I did not want to make assertions or draw conclusions about a fellow officer's death without evidence to back it up. For the same reason, news of his death exponentially elevated my anger at the Capitol rioters.
What follows is a painful inquiry into the death of Officer Sicknick — what we know and what we don't know.
What we know about Brian's life
Officer Sicknick was a 42-year-old New Jersey native, the youngest of Gladys and Charles Sicknick's three boys. Six months after graduating high school in 1997, though he aspired to be a police officer, he joined the New Jersey Air National Guard, serving from 1997 through 2003 with the 108th Air Refueling Wing out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. He deployed with Operation Southern Watch in 1999 and Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003. He received an honorable discharge as an E-6, a staff sergeant, and returned to New Jersey where he worked several jobs.
In 2008, he moved to Springfield, Virginia, to fulfill his goal of becoming a police officer, joining the United States Capitol Police, but remained an avid fan of the New Jersey Devils hockey team. He loved his Dachshund dogs.
On 06 January of this year, Brian responded to the Capitol riot as part of USCP's first responder unit. He honored his oath "to support and defend" our Constitution, and he served with distinction. The evening of that disgraceful riot, he texted his brother Ken, noting, "I got pepper-sprayed twice," adding that he was in good shape. But he collapsed later in the evening.
End of Watch for Brian was the next day, 07 January, at 2130.
What we can also say for certain about Officer Sicknick is that he was professional and universally liked. To that end, he was a typical Trump supporter — nothing like the rioters he confronted in the Capitol building. According to former House Speaker staffer Caroline Behringer, Brian was "outspoken" in regard to his support of President Trump: "We would kind of trade jabs about who was going to win and kind of make fun of each other for our sides being in the lead."
At the time of his death, his brother Ken offered, "Brian is a hero — that is what we would like people to remember. ... He served his country honorably in both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Desert Shield, of which my family is very proud."
His family issued the following statement: "Many details regarding Wednesday's events and the direct causes of Brian's injuries remain unknown and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian's passing a political issue. Please honor Brian's life and service..."
At Arlington National Cemetery, fellow veteran Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), delivered a fitting tribute, including the following remarks: "After he was injured on January 6th, he spent his last remaining hours texting fellow officers and checking in on them. People needed Brian, because he was a good man, because he was one of our best. ... He lived for others. ... There is another common thread that links those buried here at Arlington with Brian. These are protectors. These are the men and women that stand in the breach. That gap between the helpless and the aggressor, between right and wrong, between good and evil. Many like to think they too could stand in that gap, but they'd be wrong."
Crenshaw continued: "It is men like Brian that remind us of the grit and tenacity and good character that America was built on. He may not be with us anymore, but if we are to honor him then we should do so by using his memory as a reminder of what this country can be. A reminder that there are indeed more like him. A reminder that the bravery and love inside of Brian Sicknick is not peculiar to him, but part of the American DNA. A reminder that our duty is to make these heroes proud, prove to them that their sacrifice was for a country worth sacrificing for. That we are a people worth sacrificing for. With men like Brian standing in the gap, it is hard to imagine that we are not."
He concluded: "This is still the greatest country on earth. This is still the great American experiment that has done more good for mankind than any other civilization in history. We will not forget that fact just because times are hard. We will persevere and strive to be better, and do justice to the memory of those buried here. Officer Brian Sicknick, may you rest easy here on these hallowed grounds. You are in good company. You have undoubtedly earned your place here amongst America's best. God bless you. God bless this great country."
What we don't know about Brian's death
What we don't know about the death of Officer Sicknick far outweighs what we do know. I believe that Officer Sicknick died of causes related to Capitol riot — doing his job that day — but there is as of yet no evidence to support that conclusion.
Whatever happened to this honorable and respected public servant was tragic, but it is likely not the narrative ubiquitously propagated by Democrat Party principals and their Leftmedia publicists since 08 January. It was then that The New York Times reported that Officer Sicknick was murdered by an assailant who struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher.
On 02 February, even CNN reported that investigators were not able to build a murder case, noting: "Authorities have reviewed video and photographs that show Sicknick engaging with rioters amid the siege but have yet to identify a moment in which he suffered his fatal injuries. ... It's still not known publicly what caused him to collapse the night of the insurrection. ... According to one law enforcement official, medical examiners did not find signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma, so investigators believe that early reports that he was fatally struck by a fire extinguisher are not true. One possibility being considered by investigators is that Sicknick became ill after interacting with a chemical irritant. ... But investigators reviewing video of the officer's time around the Capitol haven't been able to confirm that in tape that has been recovered so far."
Notably, 10 days after the CNN report — and after the Democrats' final day of impeachment "evidence" in which they repeated The New York Times claim, "The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher" — The Times quietly updated its 08 January story, now asserting, "Medical experts have said he did not die of blunt force trauma..."
This after the Times's report had been repeated thousands of times by its downstream Leftmedia outlets.
According to the Times, its update was based on "new information," but an original report from the Capitol Police the same day as the 08 January Times report indicated Brian had died of a stroke.
As former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy observed, if Officer Sicknick's death "did not happen the way the House Democratic impeachment managers have represented that it happened, we should be told that — and be told why such an inflammatory allegation was made in the impeachment article and repeated in the pretrial memo." After the Times's correction, McCarthy now insists, "It is vital that we have an accurate accounting of what happened on January 6, including an accurate accounting of what happened to Officer Brian Sicknick. And since impeachment was pursued, we are also owed an explanation of why the House managers did not clarify the circumstances of Sicknick's death after making an explosive allegation about how it came to pass."
In late January, Washington Examiner Chief Political Correspondent Byron York sent an inquiry to the USCP asking among other points for clarification about Officer Sicknick's death. He has not received answers to any of his questions.
According to a law enforcement journal, "The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Washington, D.C. [indicated] its medical examiners 'comply with the National Association of Medical Examiners standard to determine the cause and manner of death within 90 days; however, for cases that are more complex it could be longer.'" But Sicknick's remains were cremated shortly after his death.
There is speculation now that Brian's death was associated with chemical irritants sprayed during the riots. However, the ME's cause-of-death determination should not be something bantered about in a House committee for months — his autopsy findings should be released now.
What we know about the Capitol rioters and Capitol Police response
Two things we know about the Capitol riot.
First, the fractional faction of jackass thugs who rioted in the Capitol certainly did not, by appearance or action, represent "Trump supporters." This small atypical break-off group of violent radicals, clearly distinguishable from the otherwise lawful and respectful Trump rally attendees, were less likely inspired to violence by anything Donald Trump said that day than they were by the type of rhetoric spewed by a primary benefactor and promoter of that rally: fringe conspiracy theory agitator and perpetual charlatan Alex Jones.
Second, the reason Capitol Police were unprepared, and the National Guard was not on standby, is, as I noted the day after the riot, everybody expected Trump rally supporters to act like they always have — with civility and respect. What happened on the Capitol grounds on 06 January was unprecedented for any Trump rally over the last five years.
That being said, personally, I think the violent Capitol rioters, those who battled police, should be strung up. Period.
What we know about the Biden and Harris response
Recall what Biden said about how Capitol Police handled the riot: "Not only did we see the failure to protect one of the three branches of our government, we also saw a clear failure to carry out equal justice. No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting yesterday, they wouldn't have been treated very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that's true. And it is unacceptable."
Likewise, Harris condemned the Capitol Police: "We witnessed two systems of justice when we saw one that let extremists storm the United States Capitol, and another that released tear gas on peaceful protesters last summer." (Ah yes, that brazen "peaceful protester" lie.)
However, now that Pelosi and Schumer have reframed the riot to "praise the police," Biden and Harris are on board!
What we know about the response of Pelosi, Schumer, and their cop-hating legions
Democrats have a long and sordid history of using the caskets of victims as staging platforms for their political agenda. We have witnessed, repeatedly, how Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are so drunk on power and insulated from reality that they arrogantly believe they can use the murder of innocents as political fodder. But surely they would not be so brazen as to use the remains of a Capitol Police officer as a political prop for their impeachment charade.
I have spoken with career senior law enforcement professionals across the nation in recent weeks who share my concern about the politicization of Brian's death.
Last June, after Pelosi and Schumer kneeled for George Floyd in the Capitol rotunda — which helped to ignite their constituents' "summer of rage," I started posting tributes honoring police officers murdered in the line of duty, and asking Pelosi and Schumer why they refuse to take a knee for them.
Of course, George Floyd was just a Capitol prop for Pelosi and Schumer.
I recently referenced historian Victor Davis Hanson's summary of the leftist violence in the name of Floyd: "torching federal court houses and police precincts, 700 policemen injured, 40 people dead, $4-$5 billion in damages."
In the five months ahead of the 2020 election, almost all Democrat Party hate hustlers watched in deafening silence as their Marxist "Black Lives Matter" constituents and their "antifa movement" constituents battled with police, burned and looted businesses, and murdered citizens.
One of those murdered was a black police captain, David Dorn, killed by a black assailant during one of the St. Louis riots. No Pelosi or Schumer recognition for Captain Dorn...
For the record, Hanson's list did not include the significant increase in the murders of Hispanic and Black people in the wake of the Demos' "defund the police" initiatives. Consequently, it is absurdly humorous that the NAACP is suing Trump and others for inciting the Capitol riot, but have yet to sue any of their Democrat benefactors for inciting riots nationwide.
However, notwithstanding any limits on their abject hypocrisy, Pelosi and Schumer were finally able to identify one riot during the past four years they and their ilk can condemn, ad infinitum — the one perpetrated in the Capitol building.
And now, despite months of their incessant claims of "systemic racism" and relentless accusations that racist police are the problem, Pelosi, Schumer, and their fellow leftists have finally found a police officer they can praise, and an entire police department to which they can give a Congressional Gold Medal.
Honoring capital police officers is not unprecedented. On 28 July 1998, two Capitol Police officers were honored with Capitol services — four days after their murder. But Officer Sicknick's funeral was almost four weeks after his death, just ahead of the Democrats' impeachment proceedings in the same building.
But, as the editors of Law Officer journal ask: "Why Sicknick? Why now? What if he died at the hands of a left-wing mob? Would his death be treated with the same reverence by Democrats? We doubt it."
Likewise, political analyst Miranda Devine called out Pelosi's "cynical timing: "The newfound faux reverence for law enforcement from the House speaker and her 'defund the police' comrades after cheering on and inciting violence against cops most of last year is grotesque. Despite Pelosi's nauseating insincerity as she presided over the two-day commemoration of Brian Sicknick, the dignity and grace of his grieving parents and police colleagues mercifully elevated the honors high above tawdry political opportunism. Because, of course, what else is it but cynical opportunism of Pelosi to wait 27 days after Sicknick's death to offer his family the opportunity to bury him with full honors, less than a week before her second impeachment show trial of Donald Trump hits the Senate."
It would have been more honorable to have held this ceremony within a week of Brian's death, as was the case for the last USCP officers honored, and in accordance with the wishes of his family that his death NOT be politicized.
And now that the second Democrat impeachment charade has concluded, how can Pelosi and Schumer perpetuate using the Capitol riot and Brian's death to inflict maximum damage on Donald Trump — and by extension all his former administration supporters — in order to ensure that he, and we, are lightning rods for any further violence, which the Demos are baiting?
Well, by announcing a "9/11-type" commission, ostensibly "To protect our security, our security, our security..."
According to Pelosi, Congress will "investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021 domestic terrorist attack," adding, "It is clear from the findings and from the impeachment trial that we must get to the truth of how this happened."
What is actually very "clear" is that the Capitol riot should never be mentioned in the context of the 9/11 Islamist attack on our nation, though it would certainly be fitting to mention it in relation to the Demo-constituent riots over the last eight months.
As for "the facts" and "the truth," expect exactly none of that from Pelosi and Schumer — or the Biden/Harris regime. This "commission" will devolve into another staging platform for the next round of deep-state fabrications, this time aimed at congressional Republicans ahead of the 2022 midterm election.
Meanwhile, despite their newfound appreciation for police, the Demos remain silent about their leftist constituents who continue to assault police officers at an unprecedented rate.
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.