WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol Police chief slammed the Fox News host on Tuesdayon January 6, 2021, accusing the Capitol attack of being “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” and accusing him of selectively airing footage that failed to provide context for the attack.
“Last night an opinion program aired commentary that was filled with offensive and misleading conclusions about the January 6 attacks,” Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger said in a letter to the department obtained by CBS News. “The opinion program never reached out to the department to provide the correct context.”
The letter was first reported by Politico.
Manger criticized Carlson for falsely claiming that Capitol Police officers assisted the crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump and acted as “tour guides,” calling the allegation “outrageous and false.”
“I don’t need to remind you how many officers we had on January 6,” he wrote. “Those officers did their best to use de-escalation techniques to try to talk the rioters into leaving the building.”
Manger accused Carlson of “conveniently” cherry-picking moments to show from more than 41,000 hours of police and surveillance footage, which House Speaker Kevin McCarthy allowed the Fox News host to access. The selectively broadcast footage, he said, “fails to provide context for the chaos and violence that occurred before or during this less tense moment.”
Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Manger remained unconcerned when criticizing Carlson’s characterization on January 6, saying the “most disturbing” claim involved the circumstances surrounding the death of US Capitol Police Officer Brian Siknik after the attack.
“The department maintains, as common sense as anyone, that if Officer Cicnik had not fought bravely for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Cicnic would not have died the next day,” he said.
Carlson claimed during his show Monday that Jan. 6 was “mostly peaceful” and that most of the rioters who entered the Capitol illegally were “visitors” who were “disciplined and docile.” The Fox host showed surveillance footage of an officer, described as Seenick, walking through the Capitol “healthy and strong.” Cicnik’s death, he claimed, was “not the result of violence” at the Capitol.
Dr. Siknik’s office medical examinerAfter suffering two strokes at the base of his brainstem caused by a clot in an artery and noted that “everything that happened played a role in his condition,” a reference to Cicnik’s reaction to the crowd at the Capitol.
Two men were indicted in 2021 for assaulting Siknik and using chemical spray on a line of officers, including Siknik, who tried to protect the Capitol during the riot. A man named Julian Khater admitted to spraying Cycnic and was80 months in prison in January. The second person, George Tanios, A reduced charge and 12 months of supervised release were ordered.
Siknik’s familyCarlson and Fox News said in a statement Monday night that the primetime host aired footage that “supports his delusional view” that the Jan. 6 incident was peaceful.
“Every time the pain of that day seems to have subsided, organizations like Fox tear our wounds wide open again, and we’re obviously sick of it,” the Siknik family said.
Solwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images
Manger said that while some may cherry-pick portions of the footage that support their narrative, law enforcement officers on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6 who protected members of Congress and “contributed to the effort to allow the legislative process of this country to continue know firsthand what really happened.” .”
“You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for. You, along with our law enforcement partners, protected every member of Congress and their staff,” he wrote. “TV commentary will not record the truth for our history books. The justice system will. Truth and justice are on our side.”
Carlson’s primetime show on Fox draws more than 3 million viewers, and he was given exclusive access to 41,000 hours of Capitol and police surveillance footage beginning Jan. 6 as part of a deal with McCarthy. CBS News is part of a group of media companiesIn the video tranche of the attack.
McCarthy defended his decision to give the video to Carlson and Fox, telling reporters last week that he gave the network exclusive access and then “give it to the whole country.”
More than 1,000 people have been arrested in connection with the Jan. 6 attack, and most have pleaded guilty to federal charges. According to the Justice Department, roughly 326 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or obstructing law enforcement officers, including 106 defendants facing charges of using a deadly or dangerous weapon or causing serious bodily injury to an officer.
About 140 officers were assaulted on January 6 and many moreThe violence resulted in head injuries, cracked ribs and ruptured spinal discs.
Michael Kaplan contributed to this report.
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