Why has nobody been charged with Brian Sicknick's death? Capitol policeman's fatal injuries still a mystery
Investigators are yet to determine what caused Sicknick's fatal injuries, despite having reviewed video and photographs that show the late officer engaging with rioters amid the siege
Investigators are vexed by a lack of evidence as they struggle to build a federal murder case in the tragic death of US Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who lost his life defending the Capitol building during the riots on January 6. Law enforcement officials familiar with the matter told CNN that they are yet to determine what caused Sicknick's fatal injuries, despite having reviewed video and photographs that show the late officer engaging with rioters amid the siege.
Prosecutors in Washington opened a federal murder investigation shortly after Sicknick died on January 7. The US attorney's office put together a dedicated team to build out a case, but little information has been shared publicly to date about the circumstances surrounding the death of the 13-year veteran of the police force. Authorities are also yet to reveal the results of an autopsy conducted by DC's medical examiner.
Capitol Police said in a statement the day after the insurrection that Sicknick had been "injured while physically engaging with protesters" and collapsed due to his injuries shortly after returning to his office. He was rushed to a local hospital, but succumbed to his injuries the following day. Congressional leaders announced late last week that Sicknick will lie in honor at the Capitol beginning Tuesday evening.
Medical examiners did not find signs that the officer had sustained any blunt force trauma, one law enforcement official told CNN. This led investigators to believe that reports that he was fatally struck by a fire extinguisher were untrue. According to the outlet, investigators are considering the possibility that Sicknick became ill after interacting with a chemical irritant like pepper spray or bear spray that was sprayed onto the crowd. However, this was not confirmed by investigators reviewing video of the officer's time around the Capitol. Meanwhile, authorities are also yet to reveal whether Sicknick had a pre-existing medical condition, which could make the case more complicated.
Prosecutors have charged several suspects with assault against a federal officer as part of the investigation into the riots. These also include other violent episodes that took place at the Capitol, separate from the one involving Sicknick. FBI agents laid out the elements of the attacks on officers in court documents. According to the records, more than 100 police officers sustained injuries during the riots, including at least 15 officers who had to be rushed to the hospital. According to an FBI affidavit, one man was spotted in surveillance footage using a metal baseball bat to strike uniformed officers from the Capitol Police and the DC's Metropolitan Police Department. Meanwhile, another rioter reportedly threw a fire extinguisher at a group of officers, striking three in the head. However, Sicknick's case will remain unsolved when he arrives at the Capitol in a ceremony Tuesday night, before a viewing period for members of his police force. He will also be bestowed with a congressional tribute Wednesday morning, according to information released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, according to CNN.