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GOP lawmakers introduce bills requesting Capitol Police officer to lie in honor

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On Thursday, two South Carolina Republican lawmakers in Congress introduced twin bills requesting that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after sustaining injuries during the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda, Fox News reported.

The Capitol Police said on January 7, when initially announcing Sicnick’s death, that authorities from a number of agencies were investigating his death as a homicide.

Hundreds of police officers and emergency response personnel lined the streets near the Capitol in the hours following the announcement of his death for a moment of silence honoring Sicknick, as video from WUSA9’s Mike Valerio depicted, per Fox News.

The bills that Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Ralph Norman have introduced want to recognize Sicknick’s “courage and sacrifice,” the news outlet reported. Norman’s legislation calls for the creation of a memorial plaque in Sicknick’s honor close to the Capitol steps, covering funeral costs, and amending the U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund to include “amounts received in response to the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Austin Livingston, Norman’s communications director, told Fox News that the congressman has been spearheading the effort—working on the bill for the last couple of weeks—and was “honored” that Scott had agreed to introduce a version of the bill in the U.S. Senate, according the Fox News report.

Livingston mentioned that Norman had talked with Sicknick’s family over the phone to offer his condolences and “see if they had any needs that weren’t already being provided for.”

“Officer Brian Sicknick risked his life serving our country in uniform overseas, yet he ultimately gave his life defending our Capitol from threats here at home,” Scott told Fox News, according to the report. “His selfless heroism, and the bravery of all the officers who defended democracy that day, should be honored and remembered.”

“My prayers continue to be with Officer Sicknick’s loved ones and the family members of all our brave law enforcement officers,” the Palmetto State senator also said.

Following the news of Sicnick’s death, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered flags at the Capitol to be lowered to half-staff to honor the fallen officer.

“The sacrifice of Officer Sicknick reminds us of our obligation to those we serve: to protect our country from all threats foreign and domestic,” she said in a January 8 statement. “May it be a comfort to Officer Sicknick’s family that so many mourn with and pray for them at this sad time.”

Joining Norman and Scott in calling for Sicknick to lie in state is the officer’s congressman, Democratic Rep. Don Beyer (Va.).

“Officer Brian Sicknick, my constituent, was 42 years old, a military veteran who served in the US Capitol Police for 12 years,” he tweeted January 8. “He made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting those trapped in the Capitol amid a violent assault on our democracy itself. He deserves to lie in state.”

Lying in state is typically reserved for former presidents and other high-ranking U.S. officials, The Hill pointed out on Thursday, the Fox News report mentioned. Back in 1998, two Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty became the first private citizens to lie in honor in the Rotunda.

Sicknick was the youngest of three boys, born in South River, N.J. Sicknick served in the New Jersey National Guard and ultimately participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Desert Shield, and with the 108th Air Refueling Wing out of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, according to Fox News.

Sicknick’s older brother, Ken Sicknick, called for the public and the press not to turn his death into a political issue, Fox News reported.

“Brian is a hero and that is what we would like people to remember,” he said.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Boston Celtics Player Legally Changing Name to ‘Enes Kanter Freedom’ to Celebrate U.S. Citizenship

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Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter is celebrating becoming a U.S. citizen in an incredible way. The 29-year-old athlete from Turkey is having his citizenship oath ceremony Monday, and will legally change his name to Enes Kanter Freedom.

Kanter is an outspoken human rights advocate who had his Turkish passport revoked in 2017 after he criticized Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Mediaite reports “he has also criticized NBA stars Michael Jordan and LeBron James for not doing enough to help the Black community and not speaking out against exploitative labor practices in China respectively.”

Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told the Boston Globe the team is “all for” the player’s name change. Kanter’s manager says the player will complete his legal name change to have Kanter become his middle name and Freedom be his new last name at Monday’s ceremony.

“We congratulated him as a group for getting his American citizenship last week,” Udoka said. “That’s who Enes is, we’re proud of him. Enes is who he is. He’s passionate about his stances and the name change; you look at [Ron] Artest [who changed his name to Metta Sandiford-Artest in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak] and guys that have done it in the past. It’s something he wants to express and we’re all for it.”

Kanter has already changed his official Twitter account to Enes Kanter FREEDOM with his new last name in all caps. Freedom made waves when he tweeted the following on November 18: Money over Morals for the ‘King’. Sad & disgusting how these athletes pretend they care about social justice. They really do ‘shut up & dribble’ when Big Boss [inserted Chinese flag] says so. Did you educate yourself about the slave labor that made your shoes or is that not part of your research?”

The tweet included photos of basketball shoes he wore painted with human rights depictions and phrases such as “hey still researching and getting educated?” as well as “I am informed and educated on the situation.”

The statement is with regard to his criticism of LeBron James’ partnership with Nike. “Nike remains one of the NBA’s biggest sponsors as both organizations feed off their partnerships with China” reports Mediaite. Kanter Freedom also made an offer to take Michael Jordan and Nike co-founder Phil Knight to China in order for the men to “visit these slave labor camps and you can see it with your own eyes.”

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