Articles published by news sites like the New York Times, CNN and NBC claimed that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, 42, was hit in the head by a fire extinguisher during the Capitol unrest. This supposedly caused his death the next day.
However, his mother, Gladys Sicknick, 74, told the Daily Mail in an exclusive interview published on Monday, Feb. 22, that was not really the case.
"He wasn't hit on the head, no. We think he had a stroke, but we don't know anything for sure," said Gladys. "We'd love to know what happened."
Sicknick's brother also disputed the narrative that had been spread by the mainstream media. Ken Sicknick told ProPublica that Brian had texted him the night of the unrest. He said his brother was "in good spirits" and had returned to the department.
"He texted me last night and said, 'I got pepper-sprayed twice,' and he was in good shape," said Ken.
An official statement from the Capitol Police claimed that Sicknick "passed away due to injuries sustained while on duty."
"Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, Jan. 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," the Capitol Police statement said.
Brian's father, Charles, 81, told Reuters that early on Jan. 7, he and other members of his family were told that Sicknick had a blood clot in his brain and that he had suffered a stroke.
As Brian's family was traveling from their homes in New Jersey to Washington, D.C., the family was told that Brian was being kept alive on a ventilator. He was dead by the time his loved ones got there.
Medical examiners have not released an official report on Brian's cause of death, and the autopsy report has similarly not been released.
Due to the confusing circumstances regarding his death, investigators are now reportedly exploring other potential causes. These include the possibility that Brian became ill after ingesting a chemical irritant, such as the pepper spray he told his brother he got hit by multiple times. It is also possible that he had an undiagnosed pre-existing condition that was exacerbated by his confrontation with the people at the Capitol.
Despite the Sicknick family's earnest desire to be given privacy and for Brian's death to not be politicized, it was immediately seized upon as a prime example of the "savagery" of the "pro-Trump mob" that assaulted the Capitol.
Less than 24 hours after Sicknick's death, without an autopsy or an investigation into the actual cause of his death, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi immediately called for the "perpetrators" of the attack on Sicknick to be brought to justice. "We will not forget," she said.
On Feb. 13, right after the Senate voted on the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden released a statement that mentioned Sicknick. In the statement, Biden referred to the police officer as "losing his life protecting the Capitol from a riotous, violent mob."
House Democrats also used Sicknick's death during the impeachment trial. In a memo, they referred to the officer as having been killed by "insurrectionists" who struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher.
The New York Times initially claimed, based on "anonymous sources," that Sicknick was beaten to death. In the two articles published by the paper that mentioned Sicknick, both said he was attacked by a mob, and one person in that group struck him with a fire extinguisher.
During the impeachment trial, the New York Times quietly corrected itself. The first article that mentioned Sicknick's death titled "Capitol Police Officer Dies From Injuries in Pro-Trump Rampage" was edited to show that the paper had received "new information."
"New information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police." (Related: NYT retracts claim that "pro-Trump rioters" smashed Officer Sicknick in the head with a fire extinguisher.)
The New York Times has not published an official apology.
The Associated Press parroted the Times report, while Slate ran an article that bore the headline "Police Officer That Rioters Hit With Fire Extinguisher Dies, Making Capitol Siege a Murder Scene."
These incendiary headlines allowed politicians to brand the riot as a murderous insurrection.
Investigative journalist and left-wing activist Glenn Greenwald noted that Sicknick's death was highlighted so much because the mainstream media has no other example of the "pro-Trump mob" deliberately murdering anybody. He pointed out that none of the other four deaths that occurred during the incident were given much attention because they were not done inflicted by the protesters.
"The only other person killed with deliberate violence was a pro-Trump protester, Ashli Babbitt, unarmed when shot in the neck by a police officer at close range," added Greenwald.
Learn more about what actually transpired during the unrest at the Capitol on Jan. 6 by reading the latest articles at Rioting.news.