Washington, D.C.’s chief medical examiner has ruled that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick sustained two strokes and died of natural causes one day after he engaged against rioters at the January 6 Capitol attack, The Washington Post reported Monday afternoon.
Monday’s ruling will probably make it challenging for prosecutors to file homicide charges in Sicknick’s death. A pair of men are accused of assaulting Sicknick by employing a powerful chemical spray meant for bears at him during the riot and have been charged with assaulting the 42-year-old officer with a deadly weapon, but the two haven’t been charged with homicide.
Francisco Diaz, the medical examiner, told The Post in an interview that the autopsy discovered no evidence Sicknick experienced an allergic reaction to chemical irritants, which Diaz said would have resulted in Sicknick’s throat quickly seizing. No evidence of internal or external injuries was found, the medical examiner also reportedly said.
Diaz, according to The Post, noted that Sicknick, who had been with Capitol Police since 2008, was among the hundreds of officers who confronted the violent mob at the U.S. Capitol and said “all that transpired played a role in his condition.”
After returning to his office during the riot, Sicknick collapsed and then died about eight hours later on January 7.
The medical examiner, according to The Post, said he could not comment on whether Sicknick had a preexisting medical condition, citing privacy laws.
The officer laid in honor under the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in early February. Sicknick was then buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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