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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen January 19, 2022

No, Joe Biden never said ‘dozens of police were killed’ during the U.S. Capitol attack

If Your Time is short

  • Five police officers who responded to the attack on the U.S. Capitol died in its aftermath. 
     
  • U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died after suffering two strokes several hours after the attack. Four Capitol Police and Washington Metropolitan Police officers died by suicide in the weeks following the attack. 
     
  • Four people who attended the pro-Trump rally that turned into an attack on the Capitol also died, including a woman who was fatally shot by police.

A Facebook post made on the one-year anniversary of the Jan. 6  attack on the U.S. Capitol is claiming to have fact-checked a statement made by President Joe Biden regarding the number of deaths during the attack.

The post claims Biden said "dozens of police were killed on Jan. 6," and features a photograph of the president appearing to give a speech. "FACT CHECK," text below the image reads. "According to the official FBI database for Jan. 6, 2021, exactly zero people died in DC on that day. We rate Joe Biden’s claim false."

The post, which we found on a Facebook page called "Resist 46," was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The photograph of Biden featured in the post was originally taken by an Agence France-Presse photographer during a speech the president gave on the one-year anniversary of the Capitol attack.

At no point in his speech did Biden say "dozens of police were killed" on Jan. 6. We also searched the internet, Nexis news archives and transcripts of Biden’s speeches and public remarks and found nothing that would substantiate the claim that Biden said this.

However, the president did say in his Jan. 6, 2022, speech that more than 140 police officers were injured during the attack.

He also specifically mentioned U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was pepper sprayed twice during the rioting and died a day later after suffering two strokes. Sicknick was determined to have died of natural causes, but Washington, D.C.’s chief medical examiner told The Washington Post "all that transpired (in the attack) played a role in his condition."

The Facebook post makes reference to an "official FBI database for Jan. 6, 2021" that claims "zero people died in D.C. on that day." 

The FBI does keep track of the number of law enforcement officers who were killed and assaulted in the line of duty through its Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The data is voluntarily submitted to the FBI from participating law enforcement agencies, and officers who died from natural causes, by suicide or from their own personal situations are not considered as line of duty deaths and assaults. 

Because Sicknick died of natural causes, and the deaths of four other officers who responded to the attack were by suicide, they would not be counted. 

While the Uniform Crime Reporting Program does track crime statistics, its data currently only goes up to 2020. 

The agency also has a database pertaining to the Capitol attack — it’s a collection of photographs and videos the agency is using to help identify suspected rioters.

The FBI did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

The Capitol attack’s death toll

A bipartisan Senate report released in June 2021 found that a total of seven people died in connection to the attack, three law enforcement officers including Sicknick and four people who attended the pro-Trump rally that turned into a violent assault on the Capitol.

Both U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood and Washington Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith died by suicide in the days following the attack. Liebengood died on Jan. 9 while Smith died on Jan. 15.

Two more officers who responded to the Capitol attack would subsequently die by suicide following the release of the Senate report. Metropolitan Police Officer Kyle DeFreytag was found dead on July 10 and Metropolitan Police Officer Gunther Hashida was found dead in his home on July 29.

The four people who attended the pro-Trump rally were Ashli Babbitt, Rosanne Boyland, Kevin Greeson and Benjamin Phillips.

Babbitt, 36, was an Air Force veteran and QAnon conspiracy theorist who was shot and killed on Jan. 6, 2021, by a Capitol police officer while attempting to climb through a barricade in the House of Representatives.

Boyland, 34, was a Georgia resident and supporter of Trump and the QAnon conspiracy theory. It was initially believed Boyland died after being trampled by a mob of people attempting to enter the Capitol building, but it was later determined she passed away during the attack because of an accidental amphetamine overdose.

Greeson, 55, was an Alabama native who died from a heart attack while attending the pro-Trump rally outside of the Capitol.

Phillips, 50, organized a caravan of Trump supporters from his native Pennsylvania to attend the rally in Washington. He died of a stroke.  

Our ruling

A Facebook post claims that Biden said "dozens of police were killed" during the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. The post goes on to say the FBI has no evidence that anyone died during the attack.

We found no proof that Biden ever said those remarks and the deaths during the Capitol attack have been well documented by both government officials and the news media.

Of the deaths connected to the attack, five were of law enforcement officers. 

We rate the post’s claim as Pants on Fire.

PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

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No, Joe Biden never said ‘dozens of police were killed’ during the U.S. Capitol attack

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