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Trump and two rioters are sued over the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick

The hearse carrying the remains of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick drives past police officers saluting after a funeral ceremony at the US Capitol February 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Kevin Dietsch-Pool
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Getty Images
The hearse carrying the remains of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick drives past police officers saluting after a funeral ceremony at the US Capitol February 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.

The longtime partner of a U.S. Capitol Police officer who died following the Jan. 6. insurrection has sued former President Donald Trump and two rioters for wrongful death.

Sandra Garza, who is representing the estate of Brian Sicknick, claims her partner's death was "a direct and foreseeable consequence" of Trump's words that day. She also assigns liability to Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios, two men accused of assaulting Sicknick with chemical spray during the breach.

The lawsuit, filed on Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, came a day before the second anniversary of the attack. The suit seeks at least $10 million in damages from each of the defendants.

Sicknick suffered two strokes soon after the attack

Sicknick was part of a police line guarding the perimeter of the U.S. Capitol on the day that pro-Trump mobs attempted to stop lawmakers from certifying President Biden's Electoral College victory.

According to the lawsuit, Sicknick was attacked with chemical spray during the confrontation and collapsed later that evening. He suffered from two strokes and died the next day. Sicknick was 42.

Although Washington D.C.'s chief medical examiner, Dr. Francisco Diaz, ruled that Sicknick died of "natural causes," he further stated that the events on Jan. 6 "played a role in his condition," the lawsuit said.

Lawsuit argues that Trump's words intentionally spurred violence

The lawsuit claims that Trump instigated the attack by Khater and Tanios, adding that the former president's "words and conduct" spurred violence that led to the injuries sustained by Sicknick and his eventual death.

"Trump intentionally riled up the crowd and directed and encouraged a mob to attack the U.S. Capitol and attack those who opposed them," the complaint said.

It also accused Trump of failing to stop the breach and at one point, sending out tweets with "clear intent to further inflame the mayhem."

Trump has yet to face criminal charges for his role in the attack

In September, Khater and Tanios both pleaded guilty to assaulting law enforcement with pepper spray during the breach. The two are awaiting sentencing in the next few months.

After roughly 18 months of investigations, a congressional committee tasked with reviewing the attack released findings last month, including that there is enough evidence for the Justice Department to pursue criminal charges against Trump. The committee cited obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to make a false statement and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. by assisting, aiding or comforting those involved in an insurrection.

The panel group also recommended that Congress bar the former president from ever holding federal office again.

The Justice Department's own investigation of Trump is ongoing, and it's unclear if it will pursue charges against him. Meanwhile, Trump has already announced he is running for president again in 2024.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.
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