A Capitol Police officer who died shortly after a crowd protesting election fraud stormed the grounds of the U.S. Capitol succumbed to natural causes, the District’s chief medical examiner has ruled.
The ruling pokes a large hole in Democrats’ efforts to characterize the Jan. 6 crowd as a mob of bloodthirsty insurrectionists bent on killing. Officer Brian D. Sicknick suffered two strokes, the report concluded.
It was one of the Trump supporters who was actually the only direct casualty of the protest. Ashli Babbitt was fatally shot in a corridor of the Capitol building by an officer whose name is being kept quiet by authorities. She was unarmed and wearing a Trump campaign flag like a cape.
The April 19 ruling will make it difficult for prosecutors to pursue homicide charges in the officer’s death. Two men are accused of spraying a powerful chemical irritant at Sicknick during the siege, but prosecutors have not tied that chemical to the officer’s death.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Medical Examiner Francisco J. Diaz said an autopsy found no evidence the 42-year-old officer suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, which Diaz said would have caused Sicknick’s throat to spasm. Diaz also said no evidence of internal or external injuries was found. Sicknick suffered two strokes at the base of the brain stem, he said, caused by a clot in an artery that supplies blood to the area.
Democrats tried to make Sicknick into a martyr after the January protest, which occurred as electoral college votes were being officially counted in the disputed, highly irregular presidential election. Democratic House managers arguing for President Trump’s impeachment said Sicknick was killed by rioters, and the New York Times printed the untruth that Sicknick had been beaten with a fire extinguisher. The Times later updated the story saying there was no evidence of blunt-force trauma.