A police officer has died from injuries sustained as President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, a violent siege that is forcing hard questions about the defeated president’s remaining days in office and the ability of the Capitol Police to secure the area.
The U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement that Officer Brian D. Sicknick was injured “while physically engaging with protesters” during the Wednesday riot. He is the fifth person to die because of the melee.
The rampage that has shocked the world and left the country on edge forced the resignations of three top Capitol security officials over the failure to stop the breach. It led lawmakers to demand a review of operations and an FBI briefing over what they called a “terrorist attack.” And it is prompting a broader reckoning over Trump’s tenure in office and what comes next for a torn nation.
Protesters were urged by Trump during a rally near the White House earlier Wednesday to head to Capitol Hill, where lawmakers were scheduled to confirm Biden’s presidential victory. The mob swiftly broke through police barriers, smashed windows and paraded through the halls, sending lawmakers into hiding.
One protester, a White woman, was shot to death by Capitol Police, and there were dozens of arrests. Three other people died after “medical emergencies” related to the breach.
Despite Trump’s repeated claims of voter fraud, election officials and his own former attorney general have said there were no problems on a scale that would change the outcome. All the states have certified their results as fair and accurate, by Republican and Democratic officials alike.
Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican, said news of the police officer’s death was “gut-wrenching.”
“None of this should have happened,” Sasse said in a statement. “Lord, have mercy.”
Sicknick had returned to his division office after the incident and collapsed, the statement said. He was taken to a local hospital where he died on Thursday.
Two House Democrats on committees overseeing the Capitol police budgets said those responsible need to be held to answer for the “senseless” death.
“We must ensure that the mob who attacked the People’s House and those who instigated them are held fully accountable,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, and Rep. Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, in a statement.
Earlier Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said any remaining day with the President in power could be “a horror show for America.” Likewise, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the attack on the Capitol was “an insurrection against the United States, incited by the president,” and Trump must not stay in office “one day” longer.
Pelosi and Schumer called for invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to force Trump from office before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. Schumer said he and Pelosi tried to call Vice President Mike Pence early Thursday to discuss that option but were unable to connect with him.
At least one Republican lawmaker joined the effort. The procedure allows for the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet to declare the President unfit for office. The Vice President then becomes acting President.
Pelosi said if the president’s Cabinet does not swiftly act, the House may proceed to impeach Trump.
Trump, who had repeatedly refused to concede the election, did so in a late Thursday video from the White House vowing a “seamless transition of power.”
Two Republicans who led efforts to challenge the election results, Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, faced angry peers in the Senate. Cruz defended his objection to the election results as “the right thing to do” as he tried unsuccessfully to have Congress launch an investigation. In the House, Republican leaders Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California and Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana joined in the failed effort to overturn Biden’s win by objecting to the Electoral College results.
With tensions high, the Capitol shuttered and lawmakers not scheduled to return until the inauguration, an uneasy feeling of stalemate settled over a main seat of national power as Trump remained holed up at the White House.
The social media giant Facebook banned the President from its platform and Instagram for the duration of Trump’s final days in office, if not indefinitely, citing his intent to stoke unrest. Twitter had silenced him the day before.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said “the shocking events” make it clear Trump “intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power.”
U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, under pressure from Schumer, Pelosi and other congressional leaders, was forced to resign. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for and received the resignation of the Sergeant at Arms of the Senate, Michael Stenger, effective immediately. Paul Irving, the longtime Sergeant at Arms of the House, also resigned.
Sund had defended his department’s response to the storming of the Capitol, saying officers had “acted valiantly when faced with thousands of individuals involved in violent riotous actions.”
Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser called the police response “a failure.”
Lawmakers from both parties pledged to investigate and questioned whether a lack of preparedness allowed a mob to occupy and vandalize the building. The Pentagon and Justice Department had been rebuffed when they offered assistance.
Black lawmakers, in particular, noted the way the mostly white Trump supporters were treated.
Newly elected Rep. Cori Bush, a Missouri Democrat, said if “we, as Black people did the same things that happened … the reaction would have been different, we would have been laid out on the ground.”
The protesters ransacked the place, taking over the House area and Senate chamber and waving Trump, American and Confederate flags. Outside, they scaled the walls and balconies.
Rep. Val Demings, a Florida Democrat, a former police chief, said it was “painfully obvious” that Capitol police “were not prepared.”
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
January 8, 2021 at 8:11 am
Who ran the organized perception influence campaign to evoke violence from the right wing? Who demands revenge after winning? Which group was denied their sacred constitutional right of redress? Were equal protection rights only for minorities and not for the right wing? A right winger can storm the Capitol but not get a day in court to protect basic civil rights. A black person can get rights upheld in court but get shot down for a traffic stop. These inequities fuel violence. They did after George Floyd just they did when the SC abdicated their responsibility to uphold the Constitutional rights of the right wingers. Those who clamor for revenge today are the ones most guilty of evoking the violence. Just read how hate filled the alleged winners are. It shows you the source of this violence. They dehumanize and attempt to silence aggressively with no valid rational reason.
January 8, 2021 at 8:23 am
20 years ago Sanders stood alone against the Iraq war. Today Hawley stands for upholding our Constitutional right of redress in a case about violations of the equal protection clause. Sanders is now recognized as being right then just as Hawley will be recognized as being right today. You cannot allow a judicial abuse to stand simply because you like the outcome of an election. Were this inner city blacks being denied equal voting rights there would be no outcry to censor their objections like we saw from allegedly liberal leaders or media outlets. The Constitution is the law of the land, period. The scales of justice are supposed to be color blind.
January 8, 2021 at 8:48 am
FBI- the Nashville bomber won’t likely be tied to a political cause. The false flaggers paid by the Biden campaign did commit terrorist acts. They’re the ones who knowingly and intentionally evoked violence from the right wing. That’s your terrorist target. Schumer is still doing it today as is Pelosi. Let the insurance companies settle.
January 8, 2021 at 12:40 pm
The Capitol police chief has the blood of one of his officers all over his soul because of his abject FAILURE! You Rutherford, ex sheriff, you have this officers blood on your soul! Rutherford resign ! Rutherford you have been suckered. Rutherford you are a dam traitor! Get out Rutherford!
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