The repercussions of the storming of the United States’ Capitol building continued on Friday, as the police reported one more death and a slew of officials tendered their resignations.
The US Capitol Police late on Thursday (in the US) confirmed the death of Brian D Sicknick, one of their officers, “due to injuries sustained while on-duty”, reported CNN. The officer was injured while physically engaging with the rioters on Thursday, following which he was taken to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, Capitol Police said in a statement.
Sicknick is the fifth person to die as a result of Wednesday’s riots. One woman was shot and killed by the Capitol Police as the crowd breached the building, and three others suffered medical emergencies that proved fatal.
Meanwhile, Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund has announced his resignation, adding to the long list of administrative and law enforcement officials who have quit in the aftermath of the incident. “The violent attack on the US Capitol was unlike any I have ever experienced in my 30 years in law enforcement here in Washington DC,” Sund said after announcing his decision, according to CNN.
Apart from Sund, two of outgoing President Donald Trump’s Cabinet secretaries – Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos – also resigned on Friday.
In her statement, Chao said she was “deeply disturbed” by the incident, which she termed as “entirely avoidable”. She said that Pete Buttigieg will be taking over as the Transportation Secretary. DeVos, meanwhile, called Thursday’s events “unconscionable for our country [US]”.
Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr Elinore F McCance-Katz and Anthony Ruggiero, senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense at the National Security Council, also quit from their posts, according to CNN. On Thursday too, a number of officials, including White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Matthews and Deputy National Security Advisor Matt Pottinger, had resigned.
Meanwhile, outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday hit back at statements that the attack at the Capitol showed the US to be a “banana republic”, AFP reported. A number of foreign critics as well as former US President George W Bush had made the analogy, as their reaction to the incident.
“The slander reveals a faulty understanding of banana republics and of democracy in America,” Pompeo said on Twitter. “In a banana republic, mob violence determines the exercise of power. In the United States, law enforcement officials quash mob violence so that the people’s representatives can exercise power in accordance with the rule of law and constitutional government.”
On Thursday, hundreds of supporters of outgoing United States President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol complex in Washington DC, and clashed with the police as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, which Joe Biden won. As many as 68 people have been arrested so far.
Videos on social media showed the mob shattering the Capitol’s windows and entering the building. One of the rioters even went and sat in the well of the Senate. Lawmakers put on gas masks and crouched under their desks as the police tried to secure the complex. The House was evacuated at first, but it reconvened hours later to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
The incident triggered shock in the US and across the world. Members of Trump’s Cabinet were reportedly discussing the possibility of removing him from the office.
‘Disavow false and dangerous narratives’: UNHCHR
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Thursday expressed serious concern about the attack on the US Capitol, which she said “demonstrated clearly the destructive impact of sustained, deliberate distortion of facts, and incitement to violence and hatred by political leaders”. The UN diplomat noted that the allegations pertaining to electoral fraud were invoked in an attempt to undermine “the right to political participation”.
“We are encouraged to see that the process has continued in spite of serious attempts to disrupt it,” the statement read. “We call on leaders from across the political spectrum, including the President of the United States, to disavow false and dangerous narratives, and encourage their supporters to do so as well.”
The world body called for a thorough investigation into Wednesday’s events.
Earlier in the day, Trump conceded defeat to US President-Elect Joe Biden, and condemned the previous day’s violence at the US Capitol in Washington DC. He called it a “heinous attack” and said he was “outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem”.
At a rally on Wednesday, Trump had urged his supporters to march to the Capitol. A mob had later entered the Capitol building as members of the Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 presidential elections, which Joe Biden won.