Politics|Congress Honors Officers Who Responded to Jan. 6 Riot
The Senate voted unanimously to grant the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers, during a week erstwhile officials confirmed 2 suicides of officers who were astatine the Capitol the time of the rampage.
Aug. 3, 2021, 7:07 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON — Congress moved connected Tuesday to grant constabulary officers who responded to the Capitol attack, clearing a measure to springiness them the Congressional Gold Medal conscionable days aft connection emerged that 2 much officers who were determination connected Jan. 6 had taken their ain lives.
The unanimous ballot of the Senate, which cleared the measure for President Biden, came aft back-to-back announcements from District of Columbia constabulary officials this week astir the suicides of 2 of the force’s officers who were astatine the Capitol connected the time of the riot, bringing to 4 the known fig of officers who person killed themselves successful its aftermath.
Robert J. Contee III, the main of the Metropolitan Police Department, said connected Tuesday that helium could not accidental whether the riot was the origin of the suicides.
“Certainly we’re not capable to forestall everything that happens, but I judge that we person a work for our officers who sacrifice truthful overmuch of themselves and their families to spell retired to support the citizens of the District of Columbia,” Chief Contee said successful an interrogation with Fox 5. “The slightest we tin bash is marque definite that the intelligence wellness and well-being is cared for.”
But quality of the suicides hung implicit the enactment by Congress to grant the constabulary officers who helped support the Capitol during the riot.
“Jan. 6 unleashed galore horrors, but it besides revealed galore heroes,” Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the bulk leader, said connected Tuesday, conscionable earlier the ballot to grant the officers Congress’s highest civilian honor. “A time that galore of america retrieve for its violence, choler and demolition was not without its stock of bravery, selflessness and sacrifice.”
The recently announced deaths came 1 week aft 4 constabulary officers who defended the Capitol that time testified astir their experiences successful excruciating detail earlier a peculiar committee investigating the riot.
Two days later, Officer Gunther Hashida, 43, a subordinate of the Emergency Response Team wrong the Special Operations Division who joined the unit successful 2003, was recovered dormant successful his residence, the Metropolitan Police announced.
Then connected Monday night, the section disclosed that Officer Kyle DeFreytag, 26, a subordinate of the unit since 2016, had been recovered dormant connected July 10.
Mr. Schumer called their deaths “heaping calamity upon tragedy.”
Officer Howard S. Liebengood of the Capitol Police and Officer Jeffrey Smith of the Metropolitan Police, some of whom defended the Capitol during the attack, besides took their ain lives soon aft Jan. 6. Family members and legislature representatives of some person pressed to classify their suicides arsenic line-of-duty deaths, a determination that an adjutant to Speaker Nancy Pelosi told The New York Times she favors, though national and authorities laws governing specified deaths mostly disqualify suicides. Ms. Pelosi called the officers “patriots” and “heroes.”
While determination is nary authoritative count, experts hold that officers are astatine a acold higher hazard of termination than the wide population, and immoderate studies person recovered that much officers termination themselves than dice connected the occupation successful different ways. The numbers person fueled greater attraction to the intelligence wellness of officers and expanding calls to classify constabulary suicides arsenic line-of-duty deaths, overmuch arsenic astir subject suicides are.
Around 140 constabulary officers were injured during the onslaught and 15 were hospitalized. Officer Brian D. Sicknick of the Capitol Police died of a changeable aft clashing with the mob.
The Senate voted successful February to grant a Congressional Gold Medal to Officer Eugene Goodman, who led rioters distant from the Senate chamber and directed Senator Mitt Romney, Republican of Utah, distant from the mob.
The House successful June expanded the measurement to use to each members of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police forces who were progressive successful the Jan. 6 response. That authorities passed overwhelmingly, though 21 far-right Republicans voted against the bill.
When Democrats brought that mentation up connected Tuesday, cipher objected, allowing it to walk without a recorded vote, a rarity successful the polarized Congress.
“I americium inactive stunned by what happened successful the House, wherever 21 members of the Republican caucus voted against this legislation,” Mr. Schumer said. “The Senate is different.”
Under the legislation, 4 Congressional Gold Medals would beryllium issued to grant the officers: 1 each to beryllium displayed astatine the office of the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police, 1 astatine the Smithsonian and 1 astatine the Capitol. The plaque astatine the Capitol would database each the instrumentality enforcement agencies that helped support the building.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, telephone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline astatine 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). You tin find a database of further resources astatine SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.