Senator Tim Scott and Rep.Ralph Norman introduced companion bills Thursday petitioning to allow Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. Sicknick died of injuries sustained during the riot on Capitol Hill.
The two Republican lawmakers from South Carolina call for him to lie in honor prior to his burial at Arlington National Cemetery on Feb. 3. Thirty-two government officials and military officers have been laid in state since the tradition began in 1852. The distinction of being laid in honor is reserved for private citizens. Only four people have received the honor. The first two private citizens honored were Capitol Police killed in the line of duty in 1998. You may remember that tragic event – two Capitol Police officers were killed when an armed assailant stormed past a U.S. Capitol security checkpoint. He made it to then-Majority Whip Tom DeLay’s office. If the companion bills are unanimously passed, Sicknick will become the fifth U.S. citizen to be laid in honor in the Capitol Rotunda. The other two people were Rosa Parks and Rev. Billy Graham.
The bills also call for Sidenick’s funeral expenses to be paid, and a plaque memorializing Sicknick to be placed in the Capitol. and for the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund to be amended. Any donations received after the day of the riot will be included in the United States Capitol Police Memorial Fund.
Capitol Police Union Chairman Gus Papathanasiou advocated for Sicknick to receive the posthumous honor, saying, “Officer Sicknick died because he put the lives of Members of Congress and their staff before his own safety – he did his duty. We should commemorate his life and service with respect and dignity.”
It is reported that Officer Sicknick was hit with a fire extinguisher during the riot as he engaged with the crowd. His death is being investigated as a homicide. Democrat Rep. Don Beyer supported honoring his constituent in this way, though he referred to it as to lie in state. I don’t know if he just dropped the ball or if his statement was just relaying a sentiment but it was Rep. Norman who introduced a bill in the House to make it possible.
Officer Brian Sicknick, my constituent, was 42 years old, a military veteran who served in the US Capitol Police for 12 years. He made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself. He deserves to lie in state. pic.twitter.com/CnyiUiP90c
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) January 8, 2021
Norman’s communications director Austin Livingston told Fox News that the public service member has been spearheading the effort — working on the bill for the last couple of weeks — and was “honored” that Scott had agreed to introduce a version in the upper chamber.
Livingston noted that Norman had spoken with Sicknick’s family over the phone to offer his condolences and “see if they had any needs that weren’t already being provided for.”
“Officer Brian Sicknick risked his life serving our country in uniform overseas, yet he ultimately gave his life defending our Capitol from threats here at home,” Scott told Fox News. “His selfless heroism, and the bravery of all the officers who defended democracy that day, should be honored and remembered.”
“My prayers continue to be with Officer Sicknick’s loved ones and the family members of all our brave law enforcement officers,” he said.
A U.S. Capitol Police union accused leadership of “inexcusable” failure to relay pertinent information about the Jan. 6 riot. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman, however, blames uniformed officers for falling short of their “own high standards” during the riot.
“On January 6th, in the face of a terrorist attack by tens of thousands of insurrectionists determined to stop the certification of Electoral College votes, the Department failed to meet its own high standards as well as yours,” she said before the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
Capitol Police Labor Committee Chairman Gus Papathanasiou, who called Pittman’s statements before Congress a “startling admission,” said bosses in the department were instead to be blamed for the violence due to inability to disseminate tips about a “strong potential for violence.”
“The fact they did not relay this information to the officers on duty prior to the insurrection is inexcusable,” Papathanasiou said in a scathing letter. “The officers are angry and I don’t blame them. The entire executive team failed us and they must be held accountable. Their inaction cost lives.”
“Acting Chief Pittman cites radio communications as a problem during the riots, but the real communications breakdown was silence from our leadership, before the insurrection and while it was underway,” he wrote. “They failed to share key intelligence with officers in advance, they failed to prepare adequately, they failed to equip our officers with a plan and on that very day, they failed to lead.”
Welp. It sounds like everyone is throwing each other under the bus. The police union points to the police department leadership while the acting chief is pointing back at the uniformed officers. What a mess. Either way, one of their brothers in uniform died from his injuries suffered on that day.