Newly elected House Democratic leader Rep. Hakeem Jeffries repeated a controversial claim on Friday that multiple police officers died as a result of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, an allegation that cites both suicides and natural deaths as fatalities in connection with the incident.

In a brief marking of the two years since the attack on Friday, Jeffries—who has represented New York’s 8th congressional district since 2013—praised “the hundreds of officers who defended us at the citadel of Democracy” on Jan. 6, 2021.

“As a result of the events on January sixth, the lives of five heroic officers were lost,” Jeffries claimed during the speech.

That often-repeated figure classifies Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick’s stroke on Jan. 6 and death the following day as a death related to the riot; the D.C. medical examiner ruled Sicknick’s death as from natural causes, though the examiner cryptically alluded to the Washington Post that “all that transpired” at the Capitol “played a role” in his death. 

Four other police officers who responded to the riot—Capitol officer Charles Liebengood and Metropolitan police officers Jeffrey Smith, Kyle DeFreytag and Gunther Hashida—died by suicide in the months following the incident. 

Liebengood’s death was subsequently classified as “line-of-duty” by the Justice Department in November of 2022, nearly two years after the riot; Jeffrey Smith’s was marked as such in March of that year by the D.C. police department. 

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