By MARY CLARE JALONICK and NOMAAN MERCHANT
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional leaders paid tribute Wednesday to slain U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick within the constructing he died defending, promising his household and his fellow officers that they’ll always remember his sacrifice.
Sicknick died after an insurrectionist mob stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, interrupting the electoral rely after then-President Donald Trump urged them to “battle like hell” to overturn his defeat. The U.S. Capitol Police stated in a press release that Sicknick, who died the following day, was injured “whereas bodily partaking with protesters,” although the reason for his demise has not been decided.
Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated Sicknick was a patriot who will probably be remembered by lawmakers every day as they enter the Capitol. “We are going to always remember,” she promised his household, who attended the ceremony.
The 42-year-old officer was solely the fifth particular person to lie in honor within the Capitol Rotunda, a designation for individuals who aren’t elected officers, judges or navy leaders. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, together with their spouses, paid their respects throughout two days of visitation Tuesday and Wednesday, as did members of Congress and his fellow regulation enforcement officers. Each Biden, who visited Tuesday night time, and Harris on Wednesday laid their arms on the urn in remembrance.
After the ceremony, Sicknick’s urn was taken out of the constructing as lots of of his fellow officers lined the Capitol’s east entrance. They saluted his hearse because it departed for Arlington Nationwide Cemetery, the place he will probably be interred.
The ceremony got here per week earlier than a Senate impeachment trial that can challenge a verdict on Trump’s function within the riots, and as shaken members of Congress grapple with what the violence means for the way forward for the nation and their very own safety. Whereas lawmakers had been largely united in denouncing the riots, and Trump’s function in them, the events at the moment are largely break up on find out how to transfer ahead. On the identical time, the constructing has been lower off from the general public, surrounded by giant metallic fences and defended by the Nationwide Guard.
Senate Majority Chief Chuck Schumer, talking on the ceremony, talked of the deep scars left by the assault.
“Allow us to all be a consolation to those that proceed to get better from accidents, seen and unseen, from the assault on Jan. 6,” Schumer stated.
He stated Sicknick was the “quiet rock” of his unit who was “caught on the flawed place on the flawed time, on a day when peace was shattered.”
Sicknick, of South River, New Jersey, enlisted within the Nationwide Guard six months after graduating highschool in 1997, then deployed to Saudi Arabia and later Kyrgyzstan. He joined the Capitol Police in 2008. Like a lot of his fellow officers, he usually labored safety within the Capitol itself and was identified to lawmakers, workers and others who handed by way of the constructing’s doorways every morning.
The day was filled with solemn ceremony and of reminders of the violence that occurred a month in the past. A few of the proof stays seen, together with shattered home windows and dented wooden doorways. Sicknick’s urn was carried by way of one of many entrances the rioters broke by way of, and teams of them paraded by way of the Rotunda the place his ashes lay. The lawmakers who attended the ceremony — a few of them wiping away tears — evacuated the Home and Senate because the rioters closed in.
“4 weeks in the past, the Rotunda was strewn with the particles of an insurrectionist mob,” Senate Republican chief Mitch McConnell stated on the Senate ground Wednesday morning. “At the moment, it’s adorned in solemn thanksgiving for the sacrifice of a hero.”
Along with congressional leaders, company on the ceremony included Protection Secretary Lloyd Austin, Military Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Employees, and Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser. Additionally in attendance was Wenling Chestnut, widow of slain Capitol Police Officer Jacob Chestnut, certainly one of two Capitol Cops killed by a gunman in 1998. After viewing the urn, she walked to the aspect and sobbed quietly right into a companion’s shoulder.
Chestnut and the opposite officer who was killed, John Gibson, additionally lay in honor after their deaths. The one different two individuals to have been given the identical honor are civil rights chief Rosa Parks, who died in 2005, and the Rev. Billy Graham, who died in 2018.
There are nonetheless questions on Sicknick’s demise, which was certainly one of 5 ensuing from the rioting. Because the mob pressured its method in, Sicknick was hit within the head with a fireplace extinguisher, two regulation enforcement officers stated. He collapsed afterward, was hospitalized and died. The officers couldn’t focus on the continued investigation publicly and spoke to The Related Press on the situation of anonymity.
Investigators are additionally analyzing whether or not he could have ingested a chemical substance in the course of the riot that will have contributed to his demise, the officers stated.
The Home impeached Trump for a second time per week after the assault on the cost of “incitement of rebellion.” However the Senate is prone to acquit him, with most Republicans arguing that there shouldn’t be a trial as a result of Trump has left workplace and that it’s time to transfer ahead.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois stated on the Senate ground after the ceremony that he’ll bear in mind Sicknick in the course of the trial, and the loss that his household has endured due to Trump’s baseless claims that the election was stolen from him.
“For anybody who makes the argument that in the case of Jan. 6 it’s time for America to recover from it, I’m going to recollect one police officer who gave his life to guard me and to guard this Capitol,” Durbin stated.
Related Press writers Michael Balsamo, Colleen Lengthy and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.