A U.S. Capitol Police officer holds a program while people pay tribute to the remains of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick as he rests in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building on February 3, 2021 in Washington, DC .
Demetrius Freeman | AFP | Getty Images
Long-time friend of the fallen US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick said she wanted the leaders of the US House of Representatives to set up a commission to investigate the January 6 riot.
Sandra Garza met with U.S. Senators in person last month and campaigned to get an independent commission approved before the plan didn’t get enough votes.
Garza said a House-run committee may be the only remaining avenue to get answers on why the military was slow to respond to calls for help and why so many Americans were mobilized to the point of insurrection.
“If some of these Republicans are not going to play along, then spokeswoman (Nancy) Pelosi has to do something else, then that has to be done,” said Garza.
Garza joined Sicknick’s mother and Washington police officer Michael Fanone to meet with senators ahead of the failed vote to approve an independent commission. Although Garza said most of the senators were polite, others refused to meet her or pushed her out of the office.
“Some of them would say they thought it was very partisan and one-sided, so they couldn’t vote yes,” she said.
In a lengthy interview with the News4 I team, Garza said she was on her way to Sicknick’s house to check on her dogs on Jan. 6 when she received a call from a US Capitol Police officer. She said the caller alerted her that Sicknick had had an emergency. A Virginia State Police officer was dispatched to take Garza to the DC Hospital where Sicknick was being treated.
Garza said staff declined to see her or other relatives to sicknick due to COVID-19 restrictions and the severity of his condition. He died shortly after he was admitted, she said.
“It was very hard not to see him and say goodbye and it’s just terrible,” she said. “It’s something that no one should ever go through.”
Garza and Sicknick both served in the military and dated for almost 11 years. She said Sicknick was also a World War II fan looking for a way to continue serving his country when he joined the U.S. Capitol Police a decade ago.
She said she avoided looking at pictures or videos of the riot for fear of seeing Sicknick or part of the attack against him.
“It’s a terrible thing to have to live with someone you love and who you love very much, knowing that they have suffered such brutality,” she said.
The Washington, DC coroner ruled that Sicknick died of two strokes in the days following the riot from natural causes.
At least two of the nearly 500 defendants in the US Capitol Rising are accused of attacking Sicknick with chemical spray. Both have pleaded not guilty and are petitioning for a court to release them from prison pending trial. One of the two defendants, Julian Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, is seeking pre-trial detention in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. The further proceedings in his appeal are scheduled for June 25th.
Garza declined to discuss the criminal cases.
“I wish he could have had much more peaceful final moments on this earth,” she said. “And it hurts me very much that he didn’t understand that, but he not only had to deal with what he was dealing with, but also to see how his colleagues deal with such brutality and know that, my God, You know his own compatriots did that. That’s the worst part of the whole thing. “