A Lawsuit Is Arguing That Donald Trump's Actions Led To Officer Brian Sicknick's Death After The Jan. 6 Attack

Brian Sicknick died of natural causes after being sprayed with a chemical irritant during the Jan. 6 attack. Now, attorneys for his estate are arguing that Trump and the rioters who assaulted him "played a significant role" in his death.

The estate of Brian Sicknick, the US Capitol Police officer who died after the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, is suing Donald Trump and two of the men who were charged with assaulting him as the former president's supporters attacked the Capitol.

In a federal lawsuit filed Thursday, lawyers for the estate and Sicknick's partner Sandra Garza argued that Trump's incitement of the insurrection, as well as the actions of the two men, Julian Khater and George Tanios, "played a significant role in the medical condition that led" to Sicknick's death. Khater was captured on video spraying Sicknick and other officers with a chemical irritant that Tanios supplied to him. After collapsing at the Capitol on Jan. 6, Sicknick died the next day of natural causes, though the medical examiner also told the Washington Post that “all that transpired played a role in his condition.” Capitol Police have deemed it a line-of-duty death.

The lawsuit's complaint accuses Trump, Khater, and Tanios of wrongful death, conspiracy to violate civil rights, aiding and abetting assault or assault, and negligence. Sicknick's estate is seeking $10 million in damages from each of them as well as punitive damages and attorneys' fees.

"The horrific events of January 6, 2021, including Officer Sicknick’s tragic,
wrongful death, were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ unlawful actions," the complaint states. "As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed."

In a statement sent to BuzzFeed News, an attorney for Tanios said he "is focused on the federal criminal case against him, where he has settled with the Government."

"Mr. Tanios entered pleas of guilty to two misdemeanor offenses and accepted responsibility for his limited role on January 6, 2021," assistant federal public defender Beth Gross said. "The recent civil lawsuit naming him as a defendant veers well beyond what the facts support and misconstrues Mr. Tanios’s actual conduct. Mr. Tanios will address those allegations at the appropriate time after the conclusion of the pending criminal case."

A representative for Trump and attorneys for Khater did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment Thursday evening.

Khater and Tanios were charged with assaulting Sicknick, among other crimes. Both pleaded guilty to multiple counts last year as part of plea agreements and are due to be sentenced later this month.

The 47-page complaint of the new civil lawsuit lays out the timeline of the events of Jan. 6 as well as the lies that Trump told his supporters and his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the weeks leading up to the attack.

"Defendant Trump put out a clear call to action," attorneys for Sicknick's estate wrote, "and the crowd—including Defendants Khater and Tanios—responded."

The complaint accused Trump of "intentionally" riling up the crowd before encouraging them to attack the Capitol and those who stood in their way.

According to a timeline provided by the medical examiner’s office, Sicknick was sprayed with the chemical irritant at around 2:20 p.m. on Jan. 6. At around 10 p.m., he collapsed at the Capitol and was taken to a hospital. He died at around 9:30 p.m. the next day.

"The violence that followed, and the injuries that violence caused, including the injuries sustained by Officer Sicknick and his eventual death, were reasonable and foreseeable consequences of Defendant Trump’s words and conduct," the attorneys wrote.

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