The head of U.S. Capitol Police sent a memo to his staff Tuesday, after Fox News host Tucker Carlson aired dramatic, previously unseen security footage of January 6 that showed police officers appearing to stand by passively as people poured into the Capitol.
Police Chief Tom Manger criticized the commentary on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” which he said was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about January 6, 2021, the day a crowd of people entered the U.S. Capitol, disrupting lawmakers who were meeting to certify President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory.
“The program conveniently cherry-picked from the calmer moments of our 41,000 hours of video,” Manger said. “The commentary fails to provide context about the chaos and violence that happened before or during these less tense moments.”
NEW – Capitol Police chief Thomas Manger sends internal memo this am saying Carlson’s report was “filled with offensive and misleading conclusions” about Jan. 6 and says the “opinion program” never reached out with appropriate context. Reporting w/ @rachelvscott pic.twitter.com/BrnD0n4IN1
— Katherine Faulders (@KFaulders) March 7, 2023
Manger took particular issue with a segment showing what appears to be Capitol Police officers escorting Jacob Chansley, known as the “QAnon Shaman,” throughout the building as “tour guides” as Carlson described them, and Carlson’s focus on Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick, whom a medical examiner found had suffered a stroke and died of natural causes a day after protecting the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
The New York Times reported on January 8 that Sicknick was beaten to death with a fire extinguisher during the riot, but five weeks later retracted the story when it was shown he died the following day of what the D.C. medical examiner said were natural causes. His family and the police believe his death was related to the riot.
Footage of Sicknick appearing to guide people out of the Capitol building after “he was supposedly murdered outside,” Carlson said, “overturns the single-most powerful and politically useful lie the Democrats have told us about January 6.”
The Capitol Police, Manger said, “maintains, as anyone with common sense would, that had Officer Sicknick not fought valiantly for hours on the day he was violently assaulted, Officer Sicknick would not have died the next day.”
Carlson and his team received exclusive access to over 40,000 hours of security camera footage as part of a deal made with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
Virtually no one in Washington, Republican or Democrat, wanted to see this tape released tonight. pic.twitter.com/YfpvaIZTbn
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 7, 2023
McCarthy told reporters he wanted to counter the “politicization” he believed had been fostered by former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the January 6 Committee, which focused heavily on former President Donald Trump in its investigation and final report.
The arrangement has been criticized by Democrats and even some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). “It was a mistake in my view for Fox News to depict this in a way that is completely at variance with what our chief law enforcement official here at the Capitol thinks,” McConnell said.
Though Carlson showed on Monday some familiar images of the people clashing with police and breaking windows, he said only a “small percentage” of the large crowd were “hooligans.” The host shared footage that he said makes clear vast majority of the people were “peaceful,” “orderly,” and “meek.” These “sightseers,” as Carlson described them, appeared to revere the U.S. Capitol as they filed inside in orderly fashion and were present out of concern that there was fraud in the 2020 election.
Capitol Police say more than 100 officers reported injuries after January 6. Although four police officers who defended the Capitol on January 6 later committed suicide, only people who were part of the crowd died on the day of the breach, including Ashli Babbitt after being fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer.
In his memo, Manger thanked members of the Capitol Police for their efforts on January 6. “You fought like hell on January 6 and risked your lives to protect the Constitution and everything this country stands for,” he wrote. “You, along with our law enforcement partners, saved every member of Congress and their staff.”