Media, Politicians Still Spreading the ‘Big Lie’ About Officer Sicknick

Three months ago this week, Capitol police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, died. The 12-year veteran of the force passed away the day after hundreds of Trump supporters mobbed the Capitol to protest Congress’ certification of the 2020 Electoral College.

The United States Capitol Police department issued a statement on January 7, just hours after he died. “Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” the press release read. “Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters.  He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”

Sicknick’s death is a central rallying cry to bolster the narrative that the events of January 6 amounted to a “deadly insurrection” and the perpetrators must be punished accordingly. To produce compelling optics, Sicknick’s remains lay in state in the Capitol rotunda—a somber memorial attended by Joe Biden and his wife as well as lawmakers from both political parties—the weekend before House Democrats launched their second impeachment trial of Donald Trump.

In fact, the allegation Trump allies murdered Sicknick with a fire extinguisher is still included in the bill of particulars against the president. “The insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher,” the trial memorandum claimed, without evidence, citing only a January 8, 2021 New York Times article as proof.

Sicknick’s remains were transported to Arlington National Cemetery on February 3 in another public ceremony attended by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Republican congressional leadership.

Two men were charged last month with using bear spray against officer Sicknick; the U.S. Attorney who headed the first several weeks of the Justice Department’s Capitol breach manhunt said law enforcement is investigating whether the irritant played a role in Sicknick’s death.

But the D.C. Medical Examiner’s Office, three months later, still cannot disclose exactly what happened to Brian Sicknick. “The…medical examiners comply with the National Association of Medical Examiners’ (NAME) standard to determine the cause and manner of death within 90 days; however, for cases that are more complex it could be longer,” a spokeswoman told American Greatness by email on Monday.

It’s unlikely the case is complex but instead exculpatory for January 6 protestors.

So, to summarize: There is no proof Officer Sicknick died of any cause, including a reaction to bear spray, related to his work on January 6. Further, Sicknick’s family members said they spoke with him the night of January 6 and the officer said he was fine; his mother still doesn’t know how he died but suspects he suffered a stroke.

The facts, of course, don’t matter to the national news media. Nor do they actually care about Brian Sicknick apart from how they can exploit his death to fortify the collapsing storyline of January 6, a date some compare to 9/11.

Major news organizations continue to propagate this brazen lie about the circumstances surrounding Sicknick’s death. At first, the public was told Sicknick was bludgeoned to death by Trump fanatics wielding a fire extinguisher; the New York Times, the source of the initial article, was forced to retract its story in February amid pressure from a handful of reporters.

Reemergence of a Politically Useful Lie

But the unproven version of Brian Sicknick’s death is again making the rounds following the murder of Capitol police officer William Evans, who was killed by a Nation of Islam loyalist on Good Friday.

“Officer Evans was the second member of the force to die in the line of duty this year; another, Brian D. Sicknick, died from injuries suffered during the Jan. 6 attack,” the Times, the superspreader of fire extinguisher falsehood, reported April 2. “The attack comes less than three months after the Jan. 6 insurrection that left five people dead, including Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick,” Washington Post reporters wrote the same day.

National Public Radio repeated the line that Evans was the second to die in the line of duty: “Officer Sicknick died a day after insurrectionists stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.” According to an April 2 NBC News segment, “the department had still been recovering from the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol, which claimed the life of Officer Brian Sicknick.” Nearly every major news outlet, in its coverage of Officer Evans’ killing, repeated the same claims about Sicknick.

Some perpetuated the now-debunked fire extinguisher tale. “A Capitol Police officer died from injuries sustained Friday afternoon when a man rammed his car into a security checkpoint outside the Capitol, three months after the Jan. 6 attack on Congress resulted in the death of another officer,” the Wall Street Journal reported April 2. In that opening sentence, the Journal linked to its initial article on Sicknick’s death. “Brian D. Sicknick, was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher during Wednesday’s unrest, according to a law-enforcement official,” Andrew Duehren wrote on January 8. (Reporters did not respond to my emails seeking clarification.)

Ditto for the Associated Press. The AP claimed in an April 3 piece that “Five people died in the Jan. 6 riot, including Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who was among a badly outnumbered force trying to fight off the intruders.” The link in the story routed the reader to AP’s January 8, 2021 article that still describes Sicknick as being “hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.” Reporters Michael Catalini and Nomaan Merchant sourced their claim to two anonymous law enforcement officials.

And it isn’t just members of the media promoting the big lie about Brian Sicknick: Joe Biden mourned the loss of “yet another courageous Capitol police officer” and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan tweeted his state was “horrified by the death of another US Capitol Police Officer in the line of duty.”

Unlike the outlandish comparisons between January 6 protestors and Al Qaeda terrorists, the media, law enforcement officials, and politicians have been quick to downplay the killer’s motives. Representative Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told a Cleveland television station that “we don’t know who this person was, we don’t know what…his mentality was so we just gotta figure this out.” The Times also ran defense for the killer, a black man, immediately concluding no clear motive could be identified while also disclosing how he “struggled” mentally before the attack.

Evans’ killing already has disappeared from the headlines. It’s unclear whether his family—he is the father of two—will be invited to participate in a rare Capitol remembrance attended by the most powerful political leaders in the country, or whether he will be ceremoniously buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Unfortunately, Evans’ death doesn’t conform to the reigning groupthink that Trump-supporting “domestic violent extremists” pose the greatest threat to national security. To the contrary, the event that resulted in Evans’ death was the second deadly ambush by an Islamic sympathizer in less than two weeks—which is why the media has lost interest in the April 2 Capitol attack and the mass murder at a Boulder supermarket.

The media is far too busy using Evans’ death as an excuse to promote a known lie about January 6. Democratic leaders and the American news media aren’t just dishonest and shameless—they’re fully depraved.

About Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly is a political commentator and senior contributor to American Greatness. She is the author of Disloyal Opposition: How the NeverTrump Right Tried―And Failed―To Take Down the President. Her past work can be found at The Federalist and National Review. She also has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The Hill, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, and Genetic Literacy Project. She is the co-host of ‘Happy Hour podcast with Julie and Liz.’ She is a graduate of Eastern Illinois University and lives in suburban Chicago with her husband and two daughters.

Photo: (Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

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