The longtime girlfriend of fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick said she wants U.S. House leaders to launch a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Sandra Garza personally met with and lobbied U.S. senators last month to approve an independent commission before the plan failed to receive enough to votes.
Garza said a House-led committee might be the only remaining path to getting answers into why the military was slow to respond to pleas for help and why so many Americans were mobilized to the point of insurrection.
“If some of these Republicans aren't going to play ball, then if Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi can make something else happen, then that's what's got to be done,” Garza said.
Garza joined Sicknick’s mother and Washington, D.C., police Officer Michael Fanone to meet with senators ahead of the failed vote to approve an independent commission. Though Garza said most senators were courteous, others refused to meet or rushed her out of the office.
“Some of them would say that they felt it was very partisan, was one sided, and that's why they couldn't vote yes for it,” she said.
In a lengthy interview with the News4 I-Team, Garza said she was en route to Sicknick’s house on Jan. 6 to check on their dogs when she received a call from a U.S. Capitol Police staffer. She said the caller alerted her that Sicknick had suffered an emergency. A Virginia State Police trooper was dispatched to rush Garza to the D.C. hospital where Sicknick was being treated.
Garza said staff declined to let her or other relatives see Sicknick due to COVID-19 restrictions and the severity of his condition. He died soon after he was admitted, she said.
“It was very hard to not be able to see him and say goodbye, and it's just horrible,” she said. “It's, it's something that nobody should ever have to go through.”
Garza and SIcknick both served in the military and dated for nearly 11 years. She said Sicknick was also a World War II buff who sought a way to continue serving his country when he joined U.S. Capitol Police a decade ago.
She said she has avoided looking at pictures or videos from the insurrection for fear of seeing Sicknick or part of the attack against him.
“It's a horrible thing to have to live with to know that someone that you loved and cared about very much, to know that they suffered such brutality,” she said.
The Washington, D.C., medical examiner ruled Sicknick died from natural causes in the days after the insurrection, from two strokes.
At least two of the nearly 500 U.S. Capitol insurrection defendants are accused of assaulting Sicknick with chemical spray. Both have pleaded not guilty and are asking a court to release them from jail pending trial. One of the two defendants, Julian Khater of State College, Pennsylvania, is challenging his pre-trial detention to Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Further proceedings in his appeal are scheduled for June 25.
Garza declined to speak about the criminal cases.
“I wish that he could have had a much more peaceful last moments on this Earth,” she said. “And it hurts me a lot that that he didn't get that, but he had to deal with not only what he had to deal with, but also seeing his colleagues deal with such brutality and knowing that, my gosh, you know, his own fellow Americans were doing this. That's the worst part about it all.”
Reported by Scott MacFarlane, produced by Rick Yarborough, and shot and edited by Jeff Piper.