Capitol Police officer’s widow presses Congress for 1/6 Commission

Liebengood speaks to those calling for a bipartisan commission to investigate the origins of the January 6 uprising and the security flaws that allowed the rioters to violently overtake the Capitol that day. She also calls the events “a unique and important opportunity to honor Howie” by making structural reforms to the Capitol Police that focus on mental health.

“The USCP must be held accountable for the actions and structural reforms it has undertaken. The spiritual and emotional well-being of these officials can no longer be overlooked or taken for granted,” she writes.

Howard Liebengood, a seasoned Capitol police officer whose father also had a career at the facility, was one of three officers who died in the January 6 attack. The death of Officer Brian Sicknick, which occurred January 7, hours after he was attacked with bear spray by rioters, was treated as a “line of duty” death, according to Yogananda Pittman, the acting chief of the Capitol Police. The investigation is pending Underway to determine his exact cause of death. Metropolitan police officer Jeffrey Smith also committed suicide in the days following the Capitol attack.

Wexton, who represents the Liebengood family in Congress, criticized Pittman during a hearing examining the Capitol Police leadership’s handling of the January 6 riot. When she pressed Pittman on the agency’s decision not to immediately classify Liebengood’s death as a “duty”, Pittman declined to provide details.

“I can’t speak to him right now, ma’am,” said Pittman. “It is still being actively investigated.”

Serena Liebengood’s public relations work could be significant. The leaders of the 9/11 Commission after the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington have long credited the advocacy of the victims’ families for prompting Congress to act and ensure a thorough review of events. The external appearance of the victims of the January 6 attack has largely been lacking, but Liebengood said she intended to change that.

Liebengood says her family is “still hesitating” from the loss of her husband and the events of January 6, and intends to use that moment to encourage other lawmakers to take action like a 1/6 commission to fully understand what happened.

“The Liebengood family wants Howie’s death not to be in vain,” she writes. “Understanding the cause of death, like scrutinizing the insurrection itself, will continue to be central to how we correct these tragedies and help prevent them from happening again.”

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