The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington is leading investigations into the deaths of a woman who entered the Capitol building with a crowd of rioters on Jan. 6 and an officer who was killed while trying to police the violent mob, according to Michael Sherwin, the office’s top prosecutor.
Prosecutors in the office’s Civil Rights division have opened a formal, federal excessive force case into the shooting death of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a Capitol Police officer as she and a group of President Trump’s supporters swarmed the building.
The investigation into Ms. Babbitt’s shooting is “routine, standard procedure whenever an officer deploys lethal force,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said.
The U.S. attorney’s office has also opened a federal homicide investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a Capitol Hill police officer who died after pro-Trump rioters struck him with a fire extinguisher. Mr. Sicknick died on Thursday from injuries sustained “while physically engaging” with pro-Trump rioters who descended on the U.S. Capitol the day before.
Both investigations are being led by detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department.
A total of five people died in the wake of the rampage on Jan. 6, including three other individuals who died after experiencing what were believed to be medical emergencies in the area around the Capitol.
The investigations into the deaths of Ms. Babbitt and Officer Sicknick will focus on different types of crimes.
Ms. Babbitt was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer inside the building as she climbed through a broken window leading to the Speaker’s Lobby. The U.S. attorney’s office is investigating whether “excessive force” was used against her.
The Capitol Police said Officer Sicknick “passed away due to injuries sustained while on duty.” At some point in the chaos — with the mob rampaging through the halls of Congress while lawmakers were forced to hide under their desks — Officer Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials.
He was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support, and died later on Thursday evening.
Officer Sicknick was only the fourth member of the force to be killed in the line of duty since its founding two centuries ago.
Senior Pentagon officials said on Saturday they would likely approve a request for Officer Sicknick, an Air National Guard veteran, to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery with special posthumous honors.
The recognition came after Representative Elissa Slotkin, a Michigan Democrat and former Pentagon official, said in a Twitter message that she had contacted top military officials, including Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to request the honors.
Source: THE NEW YORK TIMES