By Virginia Chamlee
The longtime partner of late Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after responding to the Jan 6 riots, lambasted former President Donald Trump for his recent defense of the rioters, calling it “despicable.”
Sandra Garza, Brian’s partner of 11 years, made the comments on CNN on Sunday after she was asked about a statement Trump made late last week.
In the statement released Thursday, Trump had said: “Our hearts and minds are with the people being persecuted so unfairly relating to the January 6th protest concerning the Rigged Presidential Election … JUSTICE WILL PREVAIL!”
“When I heard that, I was enraged,” Garza told CNN of Trump’s statement. “He knows that’s an outright lie, that the election was not rigged — that’s number one. He is asking for violence again by doing that. And to say that these people that stormed the Capitol are persecuted is absolutely ridiculous.”
Garza continued: “Those people made a choice to be there. Some of those people made a choice to engage in sadistic violence and hurt officers brutally – so much so that some of these officers will be impacted for the rest of their lives with traumatic brain injuries, other physical injuries … For [Trump] to say that his hearts and minds — or, our hearts and minds are with these people — this violent mob — is just despicable. It’s despicable. Where was his heart and mind when my partner, Brian Sicknick, was dead?”
Garza added that she has not heard from the former president since her husband died after the rioting — which was a factor in his death, officials have said.
“I had said that I would be willing to meet with him. And my offer still stands, because I want answers,” Garza said Sunday. “The Sicknick family deserves answers. I said he was too chicken. I still stand by that.”
Sicknick was among the officers who responded to the breach of the Capitol in January, which occurred after thousands of Trump supporters gathered to hear the former president deliver an angry speech outside the White House, amid his baseless claims that election fraud resulted in his 2020 loss to now-President Joe Biden.
Sicknick, 42, died at 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 7, Capitol Police said in a statement at the time.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in April determined that his cause of death was “acute brainstem and cerebellar infarcts due to acute basilar artery thrombosis,” and ruled that his manner of death was “natural.”
Medical examiner Francisco J. Diaz explained to The Washington Post that Sicknick suffered two strokes that had been caused by a blood clot. Diaz added that “all that transpired” on the day of the insurrection “played a role in his condition.”
During his speech the day of the riots, Trump told his supporters to “march” and “fight like hell” as Congress was meeting to certify the votes of the Electoral College inside the building.
A mob of Trump supporters did storm the Capitol, breaching security barriers, overtaking law enforcement (some of whom were severely beaten) and forcing the evacuations of lawmakers including Trump’s own vice president.
Five people, including Sicknick, died.
Garza — along with Sicknick’s mom, Gladys — were seen on Capitol Hill in May, requesting meetings with every Republican senator to urge them to vote in favor of a commission to investigate what led to the Capitol attack.
In a statement sent to lawmakers at the time, Gladys argued that not looking into it would be “a slap in the faces of all the officers who did their jobs that day.”
Though lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were quick to slam the January riot in its immediate aftermath, some have since downplayed the significance of the insurrection. Others, like Trump, have defended those who stormed the building in a violent scene.
Last weekend, a far-right rally billed as a protest of the criminal cases of those who stormed the building in January was held on the west lawn of the Capitol.
In stirring testimony delivered on day during a July House Committee hearing on the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, a group of the officers on guard that day detailed their experiences, calling on lawmakers to further investigate what led to the deadly events.
Capitol Police Sgt. Harry Dunn argued that both the rioters and those who sent them should be punished, saying, “If a hitman is hired and he kills somebody, the hitman goes to jail. But not only does the hitman go to jail, but the person who hired them does.”
Dunn continued: “There was an attack carried out on Jan. 6th and a hitman sent them. I want you to get to the bottom of that.”