U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland honored the five Capitol Police officers on Thursday who, he said, died after defending the legislature from the January 6 riot in 2021 — though none were killed during the violence.
In a statement on the second anniversary of the Capitol riot, Garland appeared to link the riot to the 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 in the Capitol after his death, was found to have died from natural causes.
Garland’s statement did not mention other deaths, including that of Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a plainclothes officer as she tried to climb through a broken window in a door inside the Capitol during the riot.
The now-closed January 6 Committee, which Democrats used to blame former President Donald Trump for the riot, falsely claimed during its highly orchestrated proceedings that police officers were killed during the riot.
Sources within the Department of Justice suggest that Garland has pulled personnel from investigating other crimes to focus on investigations relating to the Capitol riot. Many participants in the events of that day have spent months in jail awaiting trial and have received long sentences on conviction, often for non-violent crimes.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.