How did Officer Sicknick die?

Lefties are describing the interest on the right today in Sicknick’s cause of death as a “truth movement” but that’s more derisive than it needs to be. House Democrats have spent the past three days trying to establish a factual record for posterity of what happened at the Capitol on January 6. Whether Sicknick was bludgeoned to death with a fire extinguisher during the attack, as was reported in the days following, is relevant to that factual record. But whatever the truth turns out to be, there’s no question that other cops really were viciously attacked — it’s on video — and managed to survive chiefly through luck. A mob that built a makeshift gallows outside the building and was heard chanting “Hang Mike Pence” was clearly prepared to kill. We deserve to know whether they succeeded or not with Sicknick, but we don’t need to know what he died of to establish their intent that day.

Read Andy McCarthy’s piece today at NRO, which notes that House Democrats claimed that a cop was killed by rioters striking him with a fire extinguisher in the pretrial memo they filed nine days ago. That must be a reference to Sicknick since he was the only officer who died of injuries allegedly inflicted on him by others. Does that mean Democrats have confirmed that he was beaten to death? Because if so, it’s … really weird that no one’s been charged yet. It’s the single worst crime that happened at the riot and yet no one’s been accused of it. What’s their evidence for their belief that Sicknick was bludgeoned apart from the early anonymously-sourced reporting about it?

More to the point, unidentified law-enforcement officials told CNN of findings by medical examiners that Sicknick’s remains bore no signs of blunt-force trauma and that the fire-extinguisher account was not true. There is video from the day of the siege of an incident in which a rioter hurled a fire extinguisher at security personnel. There has been no public claim, however, that Sicknick was involved in that incident.

It appears certain that Sicknick was not rushed to the hospital directly from the Capitol. Several reports indicate that he returned to his police office. Hours after the siege ended, he texted his brother to say he had been “pepper sprayed twice” but was otherwise “in good shape.” Tucker Carlson notes that, according to the head of the Capitol police union, Sicknick had a stroke. That is consistent with a report from KHOU in Houston regarding what the Sicknick family was told about how the officer died.

The Pro Publica story linked in McCarthy’s excerpt sounds pretty definitive, as it quotes Sicknick’s own brother for the cause of death:

“He texted me last night and said, ‘I got pepper-sprayed twice,’ and he was in good shape,” said Ken Sicknick, his brother, as the family drove toward Washington. “Apparently he collapsed in the Capitol and they resuscitated him using CPR.”

But the day after that text exchange, the family got word that Brian Sicknick had a blood clot and had had a stroke; a ventilator was keeping him alive.

“We weren’t expecting it,” his brother said.

If Sicknick had been hit in the head with a heavy fire extinguisher one would think he would have mentioned it to his brother, assuming he was in any condition to text at all. Nine days ago, the same day that Democrats filed their memo, CNN reported that authorities had been pushing to build a case against Sicknick’s killers but were struggling because they couldn’t find the moment on audio or video in which he appeared to suffer “his fatal injuries.” I don’t know if that means that there *were* fatal injuries observable on Sicknick’s body and their infliction just wasn’t caught on tape or if it means they couldn’t find hard evidence of fatal injuries to begin with. But sources told CNN that there were no signs of blunt-force trauma, which clearly means the fire-extinguisher story was untrue. So what was it doing in the Dems’ memo?

A new CNN story published today claims investigators are focused on another possible cause of death, one that would fit with Sicknick telling his brother that he’d been “pepper-sprayed.”

Federal authorities have narrowed to a handful the number of suspects in the death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, a US official briefed on the probe said Wednesday, raising hopes that investigators can bring charges in the case.

New video evidence from the US Capitol on January 6 has aided the work of the FBI and prosecutors in the US Attorney’s Office in Washington, DC, in what the official says investigators continue to view as a complicated and difficult case.

One leading theory that investigators are considering is that the suspects sprayed an irritant, perhaps bear spray, that caused Sicknick to suffer a fatal reaction, the official said and CNN has previously reported.

It was claimed weeks ago that some rioters were armed with bear spray. Images of them spraying something featured in the Dems’ impeachment presentation today too. “By the time I got there, you know, officers were already getting sprayed with whatever these individuals had, which, you know, I believe they had bear mace which is literally used for bears,” said one D.C. cop to WUSA, adding that she was sprayed with it and it sealed her eyes shut. A poison-control expert told the same news outlet that the mob might have preferred bear spray to pepper spray because it’s less regulated. In some states you’re required by law to register a purchase of mace, but not so with bear spray.

Is that what happened to Sicknick? Read the excerpt again. It sounds like the feds now *are* focused on a specific incident that happened that day that was caught on video as the possible cause of his death. Maybe the medical examiner has already identified an allergic reaction of some kind as the cause of death and cops are trying to pinpoint when that substance may have entered Sicknick’s lungs.

Exit question: It’d be nice if the Capitol Police held a press conference, say, once a month to update the public on what its latest information about the Capitol attack, no? They surely have some information on Sicknick’s death which they could share and clear this up.