Mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick Believes He Died From Stroke, but She Still Can’t Get Answers
“He wasn’t hit on the head no. We think he had a stroke, but we don’t know anything for sure. We’d love to know what happened,” Officer Sicknick’s mother Gladys told the Daily Mail.
The tragic death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick in the aftermath of the Capitol riots triggered frenzied reporting from mainstream media outlets like the New York Times, which reported on January 8th that Sicknick died “from injuries in pro-Trump rampage.”
Though the Times updated its report, it initially reported that “At some point in the chaos … [Sicknick] was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials.”
Another piece the paper published that day was exclusively about Sicknick. The headline read, “He Dreamed of Being a Police Officer, Then Was Killed by a Pro-Trump Mob.”
The Times’ pieces cited “the authorities” in their reporting, noting that “the Capitol Police said only that he had ‘passed away due to injuries sustained while on duty.'”
Indeed, the Capitol Police’s press release issued the day after the riots, stated Sicknick had died after being injured during the riots. The USCP’s statement that day did not provide any specifics as to the nature of the injuries.
In a piece they filed the same day, the Associated Press claimed Sicknick “died Thursday night from injuries suffered during the riot.” A few paragraphs down in the article, the AP reported that Sicknick “was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during a struggle,” according to two unnamed law enforcement officials.
Here are some of the various segments some cable news networks like CNN and MSNBC did on Sicknick’s death, all claiming in so many words that rioters beat him to death:
Dangerous disinformation spread on cable news: pic.twitter.com/x1BkltyIs7
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 23, 2021
The media narrative about how Sicknick had died after allegedly being struck by a fire extinguisher was so prevalent that it led Democrats to suggest in so many words that President Trump was an accomplice to murder. Sicknick’s death was even cited in the House’s impeachment article against Trump:
Thus incited by President Trump, members of the crowd he had addressed, in an attempt to, among other objectives, interfere with the Joint Session’s solemn constitutional duty to certify the results of the 2020 Presidential election, unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel….
In a pre-trial memorandum, House Democrats wrote, “the insurrectionists killed a Capitol Police officer by striking him in the head with a fire extinguisher.”
Family Doesn’t Have Answers
But contra to the numerous early reports about how Sicknick supposedly died after being struck with a fire extinguisher, there was information from family members early on that suggested that’s not what happened. On January 8th, ProPublica reported that his brother Ken said Officer Sicknick texted him the night of the riots about how he had been pepper-sprayed:
“He texted me last night and said, ‘I got pepper-sprayed twice,’ and he was in good shape,” said Ken Sicknick, his brother, as the family drove toward Washington. “Apparently he collapsed in the Capitol and they resuscitated him using CPR.”
But the day after that text exchange, the family got word that Brian Sicknick had a blood clot and had had a stroke; a ventilator was keeping him alive.
He died that Thursday night around 9:30 pm, according to the USCP.
It’s been seven weeks since the Capitol riots and Sicknick’s death, and as of this writing, his family still does not have any answers. Officer Sicknick’s mother Gladys spoke with the Daily Mail and told them what she believes happened:
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com Gladys Sicknick, 74, was unequivocal in her assertion that Officer Brian Sicknick was not struck on the head and that as far as the family knows her son had a fatal stroke.
She said, ‘He wasn’t hit on the head no. We think he had a stroke, but we don’t know anything for sure.
‘We’d love to know what happened.’
Because, while politicians have grandstanded and rushed to judgment no one has yet given the family the answers they need.
The Daily Mail also provided a detailed timeline on how media reports evolved on the story as time went on with some, like the New York Times, adding notes at the beginning of their original stories that some information was now in dispute.
Politifact is even now acknowledging that it’s unclear how Sicknick died, citing a “lack of publicly available information” beyond various media reports that have since been updated to note there is conflicting information but nothing from official sources. “Official sources have remained quiet, with no suspects or arrests announced as of this writing,” they wrote Monday.
With all of this in mind, will we get walk-backs, updates, or retractions from media figures like MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who have continued to run with the fire extinguisher story?
Have any of the cable hosts who repeatedly dramatized a false story about how Sicknick died — causing that story to ricochet across social media to millions of people — retracted what they said, including @maddow & @andersoncooper?https://t.co/uFvuQm4VgZ pic.twitter.com/y9h0iHOZGq
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 23, 2021
Don’t count on it.
While Sicknick’s death is no doubt a tragedy, the media’s/left’s rush to assign blame for his death before knowing the facts is a tragedy in its own way – because it’s their early reporting that enabled Democrats and so-called “journalists” to shamelessly politicize his death and further traumatize his family at a time when all they wanted was the truth about what happened.
Yet it’s been seven weeks, and they still don’t have that information. None of us do. That in and of itself is a scandal. It’s one the media should focus on instead of continuing to make dubious claims that have yet to be substantiated.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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