NJ mom of Officer Sicknick ‘couldn’t stay quiet’ on Jan. 6 insurrection
The New Jersey mother of fallen Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick has been meeting with Republican U.S. senators, pressing for support of a 9/11 style commission into the events of the insurrection at the Capitol.
“He and his fellow officers fought for hours and hours against those animals who were trying to take over the Capitol Building and our Democracy, as we know it,” Gladys Sicknick, of South River, said in a written statement referring to her late son issued Wednesday.
“Not having a January 6 Commission to look into exactly what occurred is a slap in the face to all the officers who did their jobs that day,” she continued.
Sicknick was joined on Thursday by her son's longtime partner, Sandra Garza, as well as former Republican U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock, U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn and Metropolitan Police Officer Mike Fanone.
“Facts are facts. If they look at the footage that happened, it’s very obvious that that was not a peaceful day,” Garza said in a video with C-Span, following a meeting with Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah.
Garza recounted the video and photos that show officers getting attacked by a violent crowd, many clad in Trump campaign gear, some carrying weapons or using items like flag poles and fire extinguishers to throw at or beat the uniformed officers.
“If Jan. 6 didn’t happen, Brian would still be here, plain and simple,” surviving Capitol Officer Dunn said.
An autopsy found that Sicknick had suffered a stroke, dying a day after the insurrection of what a medical examiner ruled was natural causes.
At least two men, both of them New Jersey natives, have been charged with using bear spray on Sicknick and other officers during the violence at the Capitol.
Federal agents arrested 32-year-old Julian Elie Khater as he got off a plane at Newark Airport in March, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. George Pierre Tanios, 39, was arrested at his home in West Virginia, though both men grew up in New Jersey, according to a federal affidavit of cause.
Both men have been charged with assaulting Sicknick, who grew up in South River, and two other officers with bear spray during the Jan. 6 pro-Trump attack on the U.S. Capitol.
“This is why I’m here today... usually I’m ‘stay in the background,’ and I just couldn’t, couldn’t stay quiet anymore,” Sicknick said in the same exchange recorded by C-Span on Thursday.
Of New Jersey’s congressional delegation, all 11 Democratic representatives and longtime Republican U.S. Rep. Chris Smith voted in favor of creating a bipartisan commission to review what led to the deadly violence at the Capitol.
"The attack on January 6 resulted in a tragic loss of life and physical injury. 140 Capitol and DC police officers were injured on January 6th, including 15 who were hospitalized. Three police officers later died—including a brave Capitol police officer from New Jersey, Brian Sicknick, who died of stroke on January 7th and two other officers died by suicide. Four rioters died—one was shot by police," Smith previously said in a statement.
He said he hoped the "Commission will establish the truth and provide a way forward to ensure that such an attack never happens again."
U.S. Rep. Jeff Van Drew, R-N.J. 2nd District, voted against the commission, issuing no public comment on the matter.
Former Republican Gov. Tom Kean, who co-chaired the bipartisan 9/11 Commission with former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, has been urging Congress since the winter to create a similar commission tasked with probing the violent attack on the Capitol.
“How did this mob get created? How was it — I mean, we don't know still whether they planned it all ahead of time or whether some were incited on the spot. We don't know that yet,” Kean said in an interview with PBS Newshour back in February.
“Find out how it happened, and find out the facts that everybody agrees on. Once you find out the facts, you can make the recommendations to ensure it never, ever, ever can happen again,” he said.”
After previously saying that Trump's "crescendo of conspiracy theories" caused the Capitol insurrection, Sen. Mitch McConnell has said that calls for a commission are a “purely political exercise.”
"There is no question, none, that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day," McConnell also said on the Senate floor back in February, shortly after he voted to acquit President Trump.