New York Times corrects report on Capitol officer's death cited in Trump impeachment trial

Police sources, investigators can't agree whether Sicknick was struck by fire extinguisher

The New York Times has updated an initial report from last month claiming that Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick was killed due to blunt force truma from a fire extinguisher during the Jan. 6 riot.

A new Feb. 12 update can be seen pinned to the top of the Jan. 8 article headlined, "Capitol Police Officer Dies From Injuries in Pro-Trump Rampage."

"New information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police," the affixation states.

As the Washington Examiner notes, additional revisions based on new information surrounding the officer’s death can be seen in another section of the article updated Sunday: "Law enforcement officials initially said Mr. Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher, but weeks later, police sources and investigators were at odds over whether he was hit. Medical experts have said he did not die of blunt force trauma, according to one law enforcement official."


The Times originally characterized Sicknick’s death differently.

"Mr. Sicknick, 42, an officer for the Capitol Police, died on Thursday from brain injuries he sustained after Trump loyalists who overtook the complex struck him in the head with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials," the Times initially wrote.

On Thursday, a separate Times article rebuked the paper's original Jan. 8 report.

"Investigators have found little evidence to back up the attack with the fire extinguisher as the cause of death, the official said. Instead, they increasingly suspect that a factor was Officer Sicknick being sprayed in the face by some sort of irritant, like mace or bear spray, the law enforcement official said," the piece asserted.  

Last week, House impeachment managers used the original Times article as evidence in their impeachment pre-trial memo.

On Thursday, two days before former President Donald Trump was acquitted in the Senate on an impeachment article of inciting an insurrection, National Review contributor Andrew McCarthy raised concern over the inclusion of the piece in the former president’s prosecution.


"If [Sicknick’s death] did not happen the way the House Democratic impeachment manners have represented that it happened, we should be told that — and be told why such an inflammatory allegation was made in the impeachment article and repeated in the pretrial memo," McCarthy wrote.

Fox News had reported on authorities who said Sicknick's death was attributable to being hit with a fire extinguisher, but in recent weeks it reported on the conflicting accounts coming from law enforcement sources.

"Many details regarding Wednesday's events and the direct causes of Brian's injuries remain unknown, and our family asks the public and the press to respect our wishes in not making Brian's passing a political issue," Ken Sicknick, Brian’s oldest brother said to Fox News shortly after Brian’s death.

The Washington Examiner and the New York Times contributed to this report.