WASHINGTON — US President Joe Biden paid his respects Tuesday at a solemn memorial in the Capitol to the policeman who died of injuries he suffered there last month in an attack by Donald Trump’s supporters.
With the First Lady at his side, Biden bowed his head and rested his hand on the tabletop bearing the ashes of officer Brian Sicknick, who was given the rare honor of lying in honor at the building housing the United States Congress.
Sicknick was reportedly struck in the head with a fire extinguisher while struggling with the rioters who swarmed through the halls of Congress as they tried to undo Biden’s election victory over Trump.
The 42-year-old member of the force that protects the ground of the Congress returned to his office where he collapsed and was taken to the hospital, according to the Capitol Police.
He died the next day, they said, bringing the death toll from the violent attack to five.
Only four other people have laid in honor in the Capitol’s Rotunda previously, according to the House archives website: The Reverend Billy Graham, civil rights icon Rosa Parks, and two other Capitol police officers, Jacob Chestnut and John Gibson, killed during a shooting rampage at the building in 1998.
The flags over the Capitol were previously lowered in Sicknick’s honor.
Four days after the January 6 attack, hundreds of off-duty police lined Constitution Avenue in Washington and saluted as a hearse rolled slowly by carrying his body.
In the wake of the riot new security precautions were enacted, including metal detectors at entrances to the House chamber, but a handful of Republican lawmakers — including the controversial Marjorie Taylor Greene — made a point of refusing to abide by the changes.
In response, the House on Tuesday passed new rules that would penalize members who seek to bypass the screening measures, with a $5,000 fine for the initial offense and $10,000 for each time thereafter.
“It is beyond comprehension why any member would refuse to adhere to these simple, common sense steps to keep this body safe,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on passage of the new rules.