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Capitol police confirm death of officer following Wednesday’s violent attack

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A U.S. Capitol Police Officer died Thursday night after sustaining injuries during Wednesday’s violent riots in Washington D.C., Capitol police confirmed in a statement.

“At approximately 9:30 p.m. this evening (January 7, 2021), United States Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick passed away due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” the statement said.

“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. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.”

U.S. Capitol Police said his death will be investigated as a homicide by Capitol Police and federal agencies.

“The entire USCP Department expresses its deepest sympathies to Officer Sicknick’s family and friends on their loss, and mourns the loss of a friend and colleague,” Capitol police said. “We ask that Officer Sicknick’s family, and other USCP officers’ and their families’ privacy be respected during this time.”

Members of Congress also expressed their grievances after the death of Officer Sicknick was confirmed.

Sen. Ted Cruz called the death “devastating” on Twitter Friday morning.

“Devastating,” Cruz wrote. “Heidi and I are lifting up in prayer the family of the U.S. Capitol Police officer who tragically lost his life keeping us safe. He was a true hero. Yesterday’s terrorist attack was a horrific assault on our democracy. Every terrorist needs to be fully prosecuted.”

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote, “May he Rest in Peace, and we work tirelessly to honor his service to the Congress and our nation.

Officer Sicknick was one of five people that have been confirmed dead following the Capitol building siege.

Air Force veteran, Ashli Babbitt, died Wednesday after being fatally shot by Capitol police inside the Capitol building.

Benjamin Phillips of Pennsylvania, Rosanne Boylan of Georgia and Kevin Greeson of Alabama, died after suffering “medical emergencies,” said Mayor Bowser and D.C. Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee during a news conference.

“It didn’t have to be this way,” Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer said. “Now five people have died, including Officer Sicknick. There are so many who should feel utterly ashamed, if they were capable.”

According to Contee, more than 50 Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers suffered injuries during the attack, and several officers were hospitalized with serious injuries.

City police officers arrested 70 people Wednesday and Thursday on charges related to unrest, Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department said. Most of those arrests were for violating curfew, with many also facing charges of unlawful entry.

Bowser and other Democrats called for the top security officials at the Capitol to resign after the violent attack. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund handed in his resignation, effective next week. Senate Sargent-at-Arms Michael Stenger also resigned, according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

By this weekend, 6,200 National Guard members will be placed in D.C. to support police and security efforts, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has confirmed.

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Cuomo says he’ll ‘fully cooperate’ with NY AG’s review of sexual harassment claims

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Wednesday that he will “fully cooperate” with the state attorney general’s independent review into sexual harassment allegations made against the currently scandal-ridden governor, saying, “I fully support a woman’s right to come forward.”

Last Wednesday, Lindsey Boylan, who served in his administration for over three years, accused Cuomo of suggesting to her on a 2017 flight that they play strip poker, inappropriate touching, and kissing her on the lips without her consent.

RELATED: ‘Let’s play strip poker’: Fmr. Cuomo aide accuses NY governor of sexual harassment

Following Boylan’s accusations, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett alleged the governor indicated interest in having an affair with her while she was serving in his administration as a health policy adviser. In a Saturday New York Times report, Bennett told the newspaper that Cuomo asked her if she had “ever been with an older man,” adding that “age doesn’t matter” in relationships.

At Wednesday’s press briefing, the Empire State governor addressed the accusations leveled against him over the past seven days by three women and New York Attorney General Letitia James’ (D) independent review into those claims, which she announced on Monday was formally proceeding.

RELATED: De Blasio ‘sickened’ by Cuomo sexual harassment claims

“As you probably know, the attorney general is doing an independent review, and I will fully cooperate with that review,” Cuomo said at the beginning of his statement. “Now, the lawyers say I shouldn’t say anything when you have a pending review until that review is over. I understand that, I’m a lawyer, too. But, I want New Yorkers to hear from me directly on this.”

“First, I fully support a woman’s right to come forward,” the governor began. “And I think it should be encouraged in every way. I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable. It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it. I feel awful about it, and frankly I am embarrassed by it, and that’s not easy to say. But that’s the truth.”

This echoes what Cuomo said in a Sunday statement about the allegations, in which he stated he “may have been insensitive” during his tenure but charged his accusers of misinterpreting his actions, saying, “I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation… I am truly sorry about that.”

RELATED: Cuomo responds to sexual harassment claims, saying he ‘may have been insensitive’

During his Wednesday remarks, Cuomo iterated “I never touched anyone inappropriately,” repeated that sentence, then said “I never knew at the time that I was making anyone feel uncomfortable” and repeated that one too.

“And I certainly never, ever meant to offend anyone or hurt anyone or cause anyone any pain. That is the last thing I would ever want to do,” he continued. “I ask the people of this state to wait for the facts from the attorney general’s report before forming an opinion. Get the facts, please, before forming an opinion.”

“I also want you to know that I have learned from what has been an incredibly difficult situation for me as well as other people, and I’ve learned an important lesson,” the governor said at the end of his statement. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry for whatever pain I caused anyone, I never intended it, and I will be the better for this experience.”

Amid Boylan and Bennett’s allegations, another report of Cuomo sexually harassing a woman has cropped up. On Monday, a woman named Anna Ruch accused the governor of placing his hands on her cheeks—without her consent—at a 2019 wedding reception and asking if he could kiss her. A photograph of the two together at the event has also been circulating on social media.

RELATED: ‘Eat the whole sausage: Gov. Cuomo in hot water for resurfaced video

Asked at Wednesday’s briefing about the pictures that have resurfaced of him being touchy with people, particularly that of him and Ruch, the governor claimed that it is his way of greeting people.

“I understand the opinion of—and feelings of—Ms. Ruch,” Cuomo said. “You can find hundreds of pictures of me making the same gesture with hundreds of people—women, children, men, etc. You can go find hundreds of pictures of me kissing people. […] It is my usual and customary way of greeting.”

Moreover, the governor said that his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, would do the same thing.

“By the way, it was my father’s way of greeting people,” Cuomo said, explaining, “You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable, you want to reach out to them.”

He also mentioned that he kisses and hugs legislators and noted that at an event in Queens the other day he hugged pastors and state assembly members.

Furthermore, the governor said that his intent “doesn’t matter,” saying, “What it matters is if anybody was offended by it.”

“But if they were offended by it, then it was wrong,” he added, going on to say that if they were offended or hurt by it, he apologizes.

MORE ON CUOMO: NY dem says state legislature is ‘inching toward’ Cuomo impeachment probe

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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