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A US Capitol Police officer has died after the riots that took place in Washington DC on Wednesday, January 6.
Officer Brian D. Sicknick died at around 9.30pm ET on Thursday, ‘due to injuries sustained while on duty,’ Capitol Police said in a statement.
His passing brings the total death toll of the riots up to five, after a protester was shot in the neck while storming into the government building, and three others died following separate medical emergencies.
‘Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the US 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 statement read.
The events that unfolded on Wednesday saw hundreds of Donald Trump supporters breaking into the Capitol, many of them armed, with a number of explosives reportedly found on site too.
Lawmakers and government officials were forced to flee the building, delaying the official certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Rioters were in the Capitol building for around 90 minutes, and videos taken at the scene show them tussling with police, and each other, before they were eventually removed.
Another Capitol Police officer, Chief Steven Sund, has announced he’s handing in his resignation following the events that saw officers being ‘actively attacked’ by rioters, who were armed with metal pipes and other weapons.
‘They were determined to enter into the Capitol Building by causing great damage,’ he said, CNN reports.
‘The violent attack on the US Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington DC. Maintaining public safety in an open environment, specifically for First Amendment activities, has long been a challenge.’
There has been a lot of anger from the public over the disparity of the police response during the riots, compared to the law enforcement’s response to the Black Lives Matter protests back in summer 2020.
Even a number of lawmakers have been confused over the lack of preparation, given that Trump had made no secret of his plans to encourage supports to protest in a bid to try and block the certification of Biden’s win.
However, an Illinois Democrat, who was trapped in the House chamber during an armed standoff between a rioter and a Capitol police officer has praised the officers for their efforts that day.
‘The Capitol Police I was around did an amazing job under difficult circumstances,’ representative Mike Quigley said.
‘My concern wasn’t with how valiant the Capitol Police were. It was that an hour before the debate started, I looked at the throngs of people surrounding different sections of the Capitol and said, we don’t have enough security.’
He went on to say it was quite clear the officers were ‘out manned’, which ultimately led to the rioters being able to break into the building.
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