A US Capitol Police officer has died of injuries sustained during clashes with supporters of President Donald Trump, who stormed the Capitol building to prevent Congress from certifying President-elect Joe Biden, police said late on Thursday.
Officer Brian D Sicknick had sustained injuries while on-duty, physically engaging with rioters at the US Capitol, the statement said.
“He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries” on Thursday night, it said.
The death of Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the Capitol Police and federal investigators.
Democratic leaders of the House Appropriations Committee said the “tragic loss” of a Capitol Police officer “should remind all of us of the bravery of the law enforcement officers who protected us, our colleagues, Congressional staff, the press corps and other essential workers″ during the hours-long takeover of the Capitol by pro-Trump protesters.
The number of people who died from the storming of the Capitol is now at five. Three members of the pro-Trump mob died from medical emergencies, and another was shot inside the building.
Police turned down support
After a rally where Trump exhorted his supporters to “fight” to overturn the November 3 election he lost, hundreds of them stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, forcing senators and members of the House of Representatives to evacuate as they smashed windows and engaged in looting.
The Associated Press news agency reported that three days before supporters of Trump rioted at the Capitol, the Pentagon had asked the Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower.
And as the mob descended on the building on Wednesday, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. However, the police turned them down both times, according to senior defence officials and two people familiar with the matter.
Preston Mitchum, a Georgetown University Law Professor, said white supremacist organisations and law enforcement have a “direct link:”.
“The reason why you don’t see the police acting fast [on Wednesday] was because that was their family,” he told Al Jazeera, referring to the pro-Trump mob.
Despite plenty of warnings of a possible insurrection and ample resources and time to prepare, the Capitol Police planned only for a free speech demonstration.
As a result, and under pressure from Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and other congressional leaders, US Capitol Police chief Steven Sund was forced to resign.
Trump, who initially praised his supporters, later condemned the violence, saying the rioters had defiled the seat of American democracy and must be held accountable.