Biden pays tribute to Capitol officer killed during pro-Trump riot

3 weeks ago

The remains of a police officer killed when supporters of Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol last month have been taken to the building’s historic rotunda to lie in honour.

Brian Sicknick was on duty when rioters, angry over US president Donald Trump’s election loss, stormed the building on 6 January, and was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.

He died the following day in hospital.

U.S. Capitol Police Officers carry the urn holding the remains of fellow officer Brian Sicknick, who died on January 7 from injuries he sustained while protecting the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 attack on the building, to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis/Pool
Image: Brian Sicknick died following the riot on 6 January

An honour guard carried an urn with the cremated remains of the 42-year-old and a folded flag up the steps of the US Capitol.

President Joe Biden travelled to the Capitol to pay tribute to Officer Sicknick shortly after the ceremony began on Tuesday night.

He placed his hand on the urn in the centre of the Capitol Rotunda, saying a prayer and sadly shaking his head as he observed a memorial wreath nearby.

A picture of of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died on Jan. 7 from injuries he sustained while protecting the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack on the building, is seen as people wait for his remains to arrive to lay in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC, U.S. February 2, 2021. Brendan Smialowski/Pool via REUTERS
Image: Officer Sicknick joined the US Capitol Police in 2008

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and a handful of other congressional leaders also paid their respects.

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A viewing period for Capitol Police is being held overnight and on Wednesday morning politicians will pay tribute before a ceremonial departure for Arlington National Cemetery, where he will be interred.

Ms Pelosi and Mr Schumer released a joint statement last week saying: “The heroism of Officer Sicknick and the Capitol Police force during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution.

“His sacrifice reminds us every day of our obligation to our country and to the people we serve.”

Officer Sicknick, from South River, New Jersey, enlisted in the National Guard six months after graduating high school in 1997, deploying to Saudi Arabia and then Kyrgyzstan, and joined the US Capitol Police in 2008.

In their joint statement, Mrs Pelosi and Mr Schumer added: “On behalf of the House of Representatives and the Senate, it is our great privilege to pay tribute to Officer Sicknick with this lying-in-honour ceremony.

“May this ceremony and the knowledge that so many mourn with and pray for them be a comfort to Officer Sicknick’s family during this sad time.”

House Democrats impeached Mr Trump a week after the attack, sending a charge of “incitement of insurrection” to the Senate.

The FBI has identified more than 400 suspects over the riots at the US Capitol
Image: The FBI has identified more than 400 suspects over the riots at the US Capitol

Republicans have made clear they will argue the hearing – due to start on 9 February – is unconstitutional because Mr Trump is no longer in office.

While eager to distance themselves from Mr Trump in the wake of the violent invasion of Congress, they have since eased up on their criticism in the face of anger by the former president’s loyal voter base.

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