Conservative pro-transparency group Judicial Watch sued the district after its Office of the Chief Medical Examiner failed to produce records the group requested on Feb. 16.
Judicial Watch had asked for “all records, including but not limited to autopsy reports, toxicology reports, notes, photographs, and OCME officials’ electronic communications, related to the death on Jan. 6, 2021, of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and its related investigation.”
“The unusual and unlawful secrecy about Officer Sicknick’s death investigation undermines public confidence in the fair administration of justice,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.
Judicial Watch is also suing the U.S. Capitol Police for emails and videos related to the Jan. 6 riot and for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s communications with the Department of Defense in the days after the incident.
Initial media reports on the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol claimed that Sicknick died after being struck in the head by a fire extinguisher. The narrative has since shifted since no evidence has arisen to back the claim and investigators have shifted to the theory that exposure to an irritant contributed to Sicknick’s death.
In a Jan. 7 statement, the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) said Sicknick was injured while “physically engaging” with protesters.
“Officer Sicknick was responding to the riots on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol and was injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed,” USCP said in a statement. “He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. The death of Officer Sicknick will be investigated by the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide Branch, the USCP, and our federal partners.”
According to the Judicial Watch lawsuit, the DC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner rejected its Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records request on February 18. Judicial Watch filed an administrative appeal to the mayor, but has not received a determination.
“Pursuant to FOIA, the Mayor was required to make a determination concerning Plaintiff’s administrative appeal within 10 business days or by March 4, 2021,” the lawsuit states. “Plaintiff is being irreparably harmed by Defendant’s violation of FOIA, and Plaintiff will continue to be irreparably harmed unless Defendant is compelled to comply with the law.”
Sicknick lied in honor at the U.S. Capitol last month.