WASHINGTON — U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger on Tuesday ripped Fox News host Tucker Carlson for spreading “offensive and misleading conclusions” about the Jan. 6 insurrection, including a “disturbing accusation” that Officer Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with the riot.
In a letter to the Capitol Police force that was obtained by NBC News, Manger conveyed his outrage over the way Carlson portrayed footage aired on his prime-time program on Monday night. The security video was exclusively provided to Carlson by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video,” Manger wrote in the letter. “The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”
Manger continued, “Finally, the most disturbing accusation from last night was that our late friend and colleague Brian Sicknick’s death had nothing to do with his heroic actions on January 6. The Department maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”
Carlson said on his show that Democrats lied about Sicknick’s death and played video that he said showed Sicknick walking around inside the Capitol after the mob attacked him. “They knew he was not murdered by the mob, but they claimed it anyway,” said Carlson, referring to members of the media and the Jan. 6 committee.
Sicknick, who was 42 years old, died of natural causes after the Jan. 6 attack, but Washington, D.C.’s chief medical examiner said that what transpired during the attack played a role in his death.
Chief Medical Examiner Francisco Diaz said in April 2021 that an autopsy of Sicknick’s body revealed the officer died of natural causes after he had two strokes at the base of the brain stem that were caused by a blood clot. Sicknick returned to his office after the riot and collapsed and died at a hospital about eight hours later, Capitol Police has said.
Two men arrested in the assault on Sicknick have been sentenced. One admitted to spraying Sicknick with a chemical irritant and the other pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors in a deal with the government. Sicknick’s family has contended that the fighting with rioters contributed directly to his stroke.
In a statement provided to NBC News, Sicknick’s partner Sandra Garza said she was “appalled” by Carlson’s segment and his “downplaying the significance of Brian’s death.”
Carlson “is not a doctor or a mental health professional and does not have the expertise to understand how one severe traumatic event can so significantly impact the body and brain. For him to act as an expert is laughable,” Garza said.
Manger, who took over as Capitol Police chief in July 2021, said in his letter to rank and file that Carlson’s opinion program “never reached out to the Department to provide accurate context.” The police chief said Carlson falsely alleged that Capitol Police officers helped the rioters and acted as “tour guides” on Jan. 6.
“This is outrageous and false. This Department stands by the officers in the video that was shown last night. I don’t have to remind you how outnumbered our officers were on January 6,” Manger said. “You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for. You, along with our law enforcement partners, saved every Member of Congress and their staff.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said at a news conference Tuesday that he wanted to “associate myself entirely with the opinion of the chief of the Capitol police about what happened on January 6.”
“My concern is how it was depicted,” McConnell said when asked if it was a mistake for McCarthy to hand the footage over to Fox News. “Clearly the chief of the Capitol police correctly described what most of us witnessed on Jan. 6.”
Manger said TV commentary “will not record the truth for our history books,” but he said the “justice system will.”
Manger’s letter comes as some Republican members of Congress also criticized Carlson for downplaying Jan. 6 and portraying the rioters as largely peaceful.