Senior Republicans Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy were ignored by law enforcement leaders and fallen officer Brian Sicknick’s family at Tuesday’s Congressional Gold Medal award ceremony for Capitol police who defended against the January 6 attacks.

The duo was denounced as “two-faced” by the mother of Officer Sicknick, who died after a mob of Donald Trump supporters attacked the Capitol building and forced politicians to flee for their lives.

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McConnell, Senate minority leader, was caught on video with his hand outstretched, waiting in line for handshakes that never came. However, senior officers and Sicknick’s parents warmly greeted the Democratic House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer.

Who was Brian Sicknick?

Brian Sicknick was a member of the United States Capitol officer and was part of the response team on January 6 last year, when violence broke out at the Capitol complex in Washington DC. Sicknick was also a veteran of the American military.

Before joining the Capitol Police in 2008, he was associated with multiple divisions of the armed forces. He also joined the New Jersey National Guard. Sicknick was also deployed to Kyrgyzstan and Saudi Arabia.

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It was earlier thought that Brian Sicknick died after sustaining injuries at the Capitol complex on January 6, however, Washington DC’s medical examiner’s office revealed in April 2021 that he died of natural causes.

Sicknick, who was 42 years old at the time, was sprayed with an unknown chemical substance amid the violence outside the Capitol. However, he did not suffer an allergic reaction to the substance, Washington Post reported citing the Washington office.

After being exposed to the chemical spray in the afternoon, Sicknick collapsed at the Capitol at around 10 pm and was taken to the hospital. He died 24 hours later. 

Before the cause of death was revealed, the law enforcement authorities said in a statement, “Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the US Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters”, according to reports from CBS News.

“He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries”, the statement added.

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Sicknick’s actions “during the violent insurrection against our Capitol helped save lives, defend the temple of our democracy and ensure that the Congress was not diverted from our duty to the Constitution”, Capitol Police said.

As a mark of respect, Brian Sicknick‘s mortal remains were laid in Capitol Rotunda. According to the official website of the House of Representatives, only five people have been “laid in honour”, including Reverend Billy Graham, Rosa Parks and Capitol police officers, Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, killed during a shooting rampage at the building in 1998.