Remembering January 6: A National Day of Infamy, Half-Remembered
WASHINGTON — Four people were killed in a crowd as pro-Trump protests turned into a violent attack on the Capitol on January 6 last year.
– Ashley Babitt, an Air Force veteran, was fatally shot by a Capitol police officer as rioters tried to break into the House Chamber.
– Kevin D. Greyson died of a heart attack, falling on the sidewalk west of the Capitol on January 6.
– Rosanne Boyland was crushed in a stampede by fellow rioters as they rose up against the police.
Benjamin Phillips, the founder of a pro-Trump website called Trumparoo, died of a stroke.
In April, a Washington medical examiner said Greyson and Phillips died of natural causes. He said that Boyland’s death was caused by an accidental overdose.
In the days and weeks following the riots, five police officers who served at the Capitol died on January 6.
— Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Siknick, who was attacked by a mob, died on January 7.
Metropolitan Police Department officer Jeffrey Smith committed suicide after the attack.
– Capitol Police Officer Howard S. Liebengood also died by suicide four days later.
Capitol Police previously said that Siknik died from injuries sustained “while engaging in physical contact with protesters”. A Washington medical examiner later ruled that he had died of natural causes: multiple strokes that occurred hours after Siknik’s confrontation with the crowd. However, the medical examiner said that “whatever happened played a part in his condition.”
A bipartisan Senate report released in June found that seven deaths were linked to the Capitol attack. But the report was released a month before two Metropolitan Police officers – Gunther Hashida and Kyle Defreitag – died by suicide in July.
Police agencies did not classify the four total suicides as “line of duty” deaths that would provide more benefits to the victims’ families. Washington law excludes suicide deaths from the line-of-duty designation.
About 150 officers from the Capitol Police, the Metropolitan Police Department and local agencies were injured, and hundreds of activists were hurt by the crowd.
In its final report, the House Select Committee probing January 6 may mention the official death toll from the violence.
Democratic lawmakers have called for police suicides to be included as deaths related to Jan. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.Y., said on Twitter in October that the Capitol riot was “a terrorist attack” that left “nearly 10 dead,” a toll that apparently included four suicides.
Other Democratic members of Congress have lobbied to designate police suicides as line-of-duty deaths. Sens Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, and Reps. Jennifer Wexton and Donald S. Baer Jr., all Democrats from Virginia, in October defeated Washington Mayor Muriel E. Bowser asking that Smith be given a line-of-duty death designation.
“Officer Jeffrey Smith was a mentally healthy man who had suffered a head injury, began showing symptoms he had never shown before, and died by suicide nine days later,” the lawmakers’ letter said. “The explanation for this tragedy seems clear.”
This article was originally from . appeared in the new York Times,