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DOJ: Capitol Police officer’s suicide after Jan. 6 considered line of duty death

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The Department of Justice has determined a Capitol Police officer who died by suicide days after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol was a death in the line of duty. As a result, Officer Howard Liebengood’s family will be able to receive death and health benefits.

“The determination is significant, healing, relieving, and we are grateful for it,” Liebengood’s family said in a statement obtained by CNN.

Liebengood’s widow, Serena Liebengood, began advocating for the designation soon after her husband’s death. In Mar. 2021, she wrote a letter to Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., that stated her husband was severely sleep deprived at the time of his death because he had been working practically around the clock for the three days following the attack. He died Jan. 9, 2021.

Wexton responded to the designation by stating she was proud to work with Serena Liebengood on her husband’s case and to reform the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits Program.

“I have been awed by Serena’s courage in the wake of this tragedy, as an advocate not only for the benefits her family deserves but also in raising awareness of the mental health struggles law enforcement face and fighting the stigma that keeps many from seeking help,” Rep. Wexton said in a statement.

This designation is possible because of the bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act Congress passed in August. It extended death benefits to those who die by suicide as a result of traumatic experiences that occurred on duty.

The committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, which expires at the end of this Congress, is wrapping up its investigation. Committee member Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said it will release a report within a month.

“It is almost Thanksgiving and the committee turns into a pumpkin at the end of December. Within a month, the public will have everything we found. For good or ill,” Lofgren told CBS’ Face the Nation.

Because it’s a select committee, it would need to be renewed when Congress starts a new session Jan. 3. But Republicans did not support its creation, saying the membership was politically lopsided.

The Department of Justice has determined a Capitol Police officer who died by suicide days after the January 6th riot was a death in the line of duty. As a result, officer Howard Liebengood’s family will be able to receive death and health benefits.

In a statement obtained by CNN – Liebengood’s family said: “The determination is significant, healing, relieving, and we are grateful for it.”

Liebengood’s wife Serena Liebengood wrote in a letter to Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton that her husband was severely sleep deprived at the time of his suicide and was ordered to stay on duty practically around the clock for three days after the attack. He died January 9th.

This designation is possible because of a bipartisan bill Congress passed in August that extended the death benefits to those who die by suicide as a result of traumatic experiences that occured on duty.

The committee investigating the January 6th riot, which expires at the end of this Congress, is wrapping up its investigation. Committee member Zoe Lofgren says they will be releasing a report within a month. 

ZOE LOFGREN: “It is almost Thanksgiving and the committee turns into a pumpkin at the end of December. Within a month, the public will have everything we found. For good or ill.” 

Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan. 

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The Department of Justice has determined a Capitol Police officer who died by suicide days after the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol was a death in the line of duty. As a result, Officer Howard Liebengood’s family will be able to receive death and health benefits.

“The determination is significant, healing, relieving, and we are grateful for it,” Liebengood’s family said in a statement obtained by CNN.

Liebengood’s widow, Serena Liebengood, began advocating for the designation soon after her husband’s death. In Mar. 2021, she wrote a letter to Rep. Jennifer Wexton, D-Va., that stated her husband was severely sleep deprived at the time of his death because he had been working practically around the clock for the three days following the attack. He died Jan. 9, 2021.

Wexton responded to the designation by stating she was proud to work with Serena Liebengood on her husband’s case and to reform the Public Safety Officer’s Benefits Program.

“I have been awed by Serena’s courage in the wake of this tragedy, as an advocate not only for the benefits her family deserves but also in raising awareness of the mental health struggles law enforcement face and fighting the stigma that keeps many from seeking help,” Rep. Wexton said in a statement.

This designation is possible because of the bipartisan Public Safety Officer Support Act Congress passed in August. It extended death benefits to those who die by suicide as a result of traumatic experiences that occurred on duty.

The committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, which expires at the end of this Congress, is wrapping up its investigation. Committee member Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said it will release a report within a month.

“It is almost Thanksgiving and the committee turns into a pumpkin at the end of December. Within a month, the public will have everything we found. For good or ill,” Lofgren told CBS’ Face the Nation.

Because it’s a select committee, it would need to be renewed when Congress starts a new session Jan. 3. But Republicans did not support its creation, saying the membership was politically lopsided.

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