"Leave us the hell alone": Family of fallen Capitol Police officer reacts to Tucker Carlson footage

The Fox News host tried to deny the occurrence of the Jan. 6 insurrection

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published March 7, 2023 11:49AM (EST)

Tucker Carlson (Janos Kummer/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson (Janos Kummer/Getty Images)

Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired never before seen surveillance footage of the January 6 Capitol riots on his show Monday, using the tapes to mischaracterize the true nature of the violent insurrection and perpetuate a false narrative undermining the severity of the event.

Last month, Axios reported that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., had shared a trove of more than 40,000 hours worth of Capitol security video from January 6 with Carlson, who has previously referred to the attacks as "a forgettably minor outbreak by recent standards."  

"Taken as a whole, the video record does not support the claim that Jan. 6 was an insurrection," Carlson said on Monday. "In fact, it demolishes that claim." Carlson's depicted the riots as a congregation of peaceful protestors wherein "the overwhelming majority" were not "hooligans." Rather, "they were orderly and meek. These were not insurrectionists. These were sightseers."

A far cry from Carlson's erroneous recounting of the siege's perpetrators, emboldened and encouraged by then-President Trump's vitriolic speech, January 6 saw beaten and bloodied police officers, smashed windows and destroyed property, forced violent entry, trespassing, and theft in the seat of the United States Congress. In regard to the nearly $3 million dollars worth of damage done by more than 2,000 rioters, Carlson said, "They're not destroying the Capitol. They obviously revere the Capitol." 

Carlson also made a particularly cruel and insensitive jab at the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, who succumbed to a series of strokes the day after being pepper sprayed in a physical altercation with the mob. The conservative media personality accused Democrats of turning Sicknick into a "prop" and a "martyr" for drawing connections between his death and the insurrection. Using the new video, Carlson showed Sicknick ostensibly ordering instructions to insurrectionists, claiming that the officer looked "healthy and vigorous" and that it is "hard to imagine" that his death could have been a result of the Capitol attacks. 

Sicnick's family blasted Carlson for trying to downplay the relevance of the riots to his death, releasing a lengthy statement in response to "the lies started by Trump and spread by sleaze-slinging outlets like Fox." "What will it take to silence the lies from people like Carlson?" the statement continued. "Every time the pain of that day seems to have ebbed a bit, organizations like Fox rip our wounds wide open again and we are frankly sick of it.  Leave us the hell alone and instead of spreading more lies like Supreme Leader Trump, why don't you focus on real news?"

Trump, for his part, lauded Carlson for his "scoop" in a Truth Social post on Monday, while simultaneously demanding the release of rioters, now federally-convicted criminals, from prison. "Congratulations to Tucker Carlson on one of the biggest 'scoops' as a reporter in U.S. history. The New Surveillance Footage of the January 6th Events sheds an entirely different light on what actually happened," Trump wrote. "The Unselect Committee was a giant SCAM, and has now unequivocally been stamped as CRIMINAL FABRICATORS OF THIS MOST IMPORTANT DAY. Pelosi & McConnell failed on security. The Police story is sad and difficult to watch. 'Trump' and most others are totally innocent, LET THEM GO FREE, NOW!




By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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Brian Sicknick Donald Trump January 6 Kevin Mccarthy Tucker Carlson