Medical Examiner: Capitol Cop's Death Wasn't Homicide

DC examiner says Sicknick died of natural causes
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2021 6:18 PM CDT
Medical Examiner: Sicknick Died of Natural Causes
In this Feb. 3, 2021 photo, a Capitol Police officer holds a program during a ceremony memorializing fellow officer Brian Sicknick.   (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via AP, Pool)

Two men were charged last month with dousing Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the Capitol riot—but a Monday ruling from Washington DC's chief medical examiner makes homicide charges unlikely in the 42-year-old's death. The medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, ruled that Sicknick died of natural causes, not homicide, USA Today reports. Diaz said Sicknick suffered two strokes and died the day after the Jan. 6 riot. Diaz tells the Washington Post that there was no sign Sicknick suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, nor was there any sign of internal or external injuries.

Diaz says, however, that Sicknick was among the officers who engaged with rioters, and "all that transpired played a role in his condition." Sicknick collapsed in his office hours after the riot and was hospitalized. Diaz says the strokes were caused by a clot in an artery that supplies blood to the base of the brain stem. He says privacy laws prevent him from disclosing whether Sicknick had a pre-existing condition. In a statement, the Capitol Police force said that it accepted the medical examiner's findings, but that the ruling doesn't change the fact that Sicknick died in the line of duty" courageously defending Congress and the Capitol,” the AP reports. "The United States Capitol Police will never forget Officer Sicknick’s bravery," the statement said. (More Brian Sicknick stories.)

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