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A memorial to Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood on display in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in January. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The families of two police officers who died by suicide within days after defending Congress from a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6 want their deaths recognized as “in the line of duty,” according to The Washington Post.

The big picture: The assault on the Capitol claimed five lives including Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries he sustained during the siege. Metropolitan Police officer Jeffrey Smith, 35, and Capitol Police officer Howard Liebengood, 51, who had been on duty during the attack, took their own lives days later.

  • Smith was found dead in his vehicle, which had rolled over and down an embankment along the George Washington Memorial Parkway. He died before the car wreck from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
  • Liebengood, 51, took his life three days after the riot, according to the Post.
  • They were buried in private ceremonies.
“I cannot imagine the trauma Howie and his colleagues faced on January 6th or the pain they have endured afterwards. In Howie’s case, it cost him his life. His service, sacrifice and memory should be honored with official recognition that he died in the line of duty.”
— Serena Liebengood, widow of Officer Howie Liebengood.

Officer Sicknick laid in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda at the beginning of February.

  • The ceremony for him included remarks from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

What they're saying: In an interview with the Post, acting D.C. police chief Robert Contee did not say if he would support designating Smith's death as in the line of duty.

  • Contee described care given to officers, including Smith, after the riot as “adequate” but added that the department "can always do better.”

During former President Trump's second impeachment trial, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.), a House impeachment manager, told senators on Saturday that the "trial will end, and we'll resume our lives and our work. But for some, there will be no end to the pain of what happened on January 6th."

  • "The officers who struggle to recover from the injuries they sustained to protect us — they struggled to recover today. The families who continue to mourn those who they lost on that terrible, tragic day," Neguse added.

By the numbers: 65 D.C. Police officers who responded to the riot and 70 Capitol Police officers were injured in hand-to-hand combat that lasted for hours, according to the Post.

  • Multiple people, including members of far-right extremist groups, have been arrested over their alleged involvement in the Capitol siege.

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (En Español: 1-888-628-9454; Deaf and Hard of Hearing: 1-800-799-4889) or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Go deeper

Senate votes to award officer Eugene Goodman Congressional Gold Medal

Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman watches newly released video footage of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol during Trump's impeachment trial. Photo: Brandon Bell-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate passed a bill Friday to award Capitol Police officer Eugene Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal for his actions in response to the deadly Jan. 6 siege.

Driving the news: Goodman has been widely praised for leading the mob of pro-Trump supporters away from members of Congress during the riot. New footage of the siege released by House impeachment managers on Wednesday showed Goodman directing Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to safety.

Schumer: 43 Republicans chose Trump over country

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday accused Republicans who voted to acquit Donald Trump during his second impeachment trial of choosing Trump over country and failing to "summon the courage or the morality to condemn" the former president's actions leading to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol siege.

Driving the news: Seven Senate Republicans joined all their Democratic and Independent colleagues in the final 57-43 vote, but they failed to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict Trump on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Updated Feb 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

The Senate acquits Trump

Photo by congress.gov via Getty Images

The Senate failed to reach the two-thirds majority necessary to convict former President Trump on charges of high crimes and misdemeanors, with a final vote of 57-43 cementing his acquittal.

Why it matters: Seven Senate Republicans voted ‘guilty,’ the most bipartisan margin in favor of conviction in history.