What Happened to Officer Brian Sicknick? No one should discount the idea that Democrats and the news media would intentionally promote a totally fabricated story to destroy Donald Trump and vilify his supporters.
The claim is so pervasive as not to be questioned: Five people died as a result of the January 6 “insurrection” at the Capitol building, killed by blood-thirsty Trump voters at the president’s behest, out for revenge over a stolen election.
Even though only one death—the shooting of Ashli Babbitt by a still-unidentified police officer—is provable by video evidence, the other fatalities nonetheless are accepted as an article of faith to stoke public outrage about what happened that day.
NARRATIVE vs. EVIDENCE
Democrats wasted no time exploiting Sicknick’s untimely death. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) immediately ordered flags flown at half-staff at the Capitol; news and opinion outlets on both the Left and NeverTrump Right blamed the so-called “insurrectionists” for killing Sicknick.
National Review claimed, without evidence, that Sicknick was “murdered.” The president and his allies in the Senate, pundits raged, were accomplices. “When he told followers to ‘STAND UP,’ they listened and murdered a cop while storming the Capitol,” one Washington Examiner writer tweeted about the role of Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.). “Make him pay.”
Lawmakers of both parties paid their respects to Sicknick last week during a rare Capitol ceremony; his body lay in honor in the Rotunda on February 3 following a brief memorial service. When Joe Biden and his wife walked away from the display, the president shook his head in grief.
The widely-accepted circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s death are part of the Democrats’ impeachment crusade against Donald Trump. “The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher,” House impeachment managers allege in a memorandum detailing their evidence.
But that inflammatory accusation isn’t backed by an autopsy report or any hard evidence such as a video clip. It isn’t backed by charging documents filed against anyone suspected of killing Sicknick; nearly five weeks later, no one has been accused of murdering the officer even though federal law enforcement officials have arrested more than 200 people tied to their involvement in the January 6 melee.
No, the only proof the House impeachment managers can find is the January 8, New York Times article that relied not on evidence but on background from “two law enforcement officials.”
STRUGGLING TO BUILD A CASE
If Sicknick is the face representing the carnage of January 6, Democrats are at risk of losing their most compelling sympathy storyline just as the impeachment trial gets underway.
“Investigators are struggling to build a federal murder case regarding fallen U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, vexed by a lack of evidence that could prove someone caused his death,” CNN disclosed last week. “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.”
A medical examiner’s report has not been released and law enforcement authorities are tight-lipped; in a January 26 email to me, an FBI spokeswoman refused to comment on the status of the investigation. The District of Columbia medical examiner’s office told me Monday by email they “will release the cause and manner of death when this information is available.”
Sources, however, told CNN that the medical examiner “did not find signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma . . . and early reports that he was fatally struck by a fire extinguisher are not true.” Investigators also couldn’t confirm that Sicknick died as a result of reaction to pepper spray.
Messaging from the FBI does little to inspire trust in the Sicknick storyline. The agency at first issued a statement that claimed 37 suspects were under investigation for the officer’s death but later said the statement was in error and relied on “incorrect internal information.”
During a January 12 press briefing on its sweeping investigation into the events of January 6, the assistant director for the FBI’s D.C. field office twice referred to Sicknick as having “passed away,” with no mention of his having been “murdered” or “killed.” A distinction, in this matter, with a big difference.
WILL OPTICS TRUMP THE TRUTH
Comments from Sicknick’s family also raise legitimate suspicions about what happened to their loved one.
“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,” his older brother wrote in a statement released January 8.
The more likely explanation is that Sicknick wasn’t murdered but died of other causes that neither law enforcement nor the family wants made public. It’s certainly the family’s prerogative to keep it secret; it is not, however, acceptable for the FBI to continue avoiding questions while at the same time feeding the public a false account of what happened to him. And since the medical examiner’s office hadn’t confirmed the cause of death, it’s beyond irresponsible for anyone, particularly a reporter, to describe it as murder…..