U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland paid tribute to the five Capitol Police officers on Thursday, who, Garland claimed, died after protecting the legislature from the riot on January 6, 2021, despite the fact that none of them were killed that day.
In a statement made on the two-year anniversary of the Capitol protest, Garland appeared to link the incident to the officers’ deaths:
“Two years ago, the United States Capitol was attacked as lawmakers met to affirm the results of a presidential election. Perpetrators attacked police officers, targeted and assaulted members of the media, and interfered with a fundamental element of our democracy: the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.
“Since then, countless agents, investigators, prosecutors, analysts, and others across the Justice Department have participated in one of the largest, most complex, and most resource-intensive investigations in our history. I am extremely grateful for the dedication, professionalism, and integrity with which they have done this work. This investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 950 defendants for their alleged roles in the attack. We have secured convictions for a wide range of criminal conduct on January 6 as well as in the days and weeks leading up to the attack. Our work is far from over.
“We will never forget the sacrifice of the law enforcement officers who defended the members of Congress and others inside the Capitol that day. And we will never forget the five officers who responded selflessly on January 6 and who have since lost their lives: Officer Brian Sicknick, Officer Howard Liebengood, Officer Jeffrey Smith, Officer Gunther Hashida, and Officer Kyle DeFreytag.
“The Justice Department remains committed to honoring them. We remain committed to ensuring accountability for those criminally responsible for the January 6 assault on our democracy. And we remain committed to doing everything in our power to prevent this from ever happening again.”
Officer Sicknick, who lay in state at the Capitol after his death, was discovered to have died of natural causes.
Garland's declaration did not include other deaths, such as that of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot and killed by a plainclothes officer while she attempted to climb through a broken door window inside the Capitol during the violence.
The now-defunct January 6 Committee, which Democrats employed to blame former President Donald Trump for the riot, did not verify during its highly orchestrated hearings that any police officers had been killed during the protests.
Sources inside the Department of Justice (DOJ) suggest that Garland has pulled employees away from other criminal cases in order to concentrate on investigations related to the Capitol riot. Many of those who participated in the events of that day have spent many months in prison awaiting trial and have been handed lengthy sentences after being convicted, typically for non-violent offenses.