Widow of Capitol cop who committed suicide calls for reforms

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Widow of Capitol cop who committed suicide calls for reforms

Enlarge Image Gabriel Ayoud, 8, gets fingerprinted by Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood as sisters Sophia, 8,

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The widow of the U.S. Capitol Police officer who committed suicide after the siege said the department had him working “practically around the clock” and he was “severely sleep-deprived” in the days following the riots.

Serena Liebengood — the widow of 51-year-old officer Howie Liebengood, who took his own life three days after the attack — called on the Capitol Police to “be held accountable for its actions and structural reforms instituted” for the mental health of its officers.

“The Liebengood family wants Howie’s death to not have been in vain,” she wrote in a letter to Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton, which was obtained by CBS.

Liebengood had worked for the USCP for 15 years.

“Recognition of the cause of his death, much like the critical examination of the riot itself, will remain central to how we make right those tragedies and help avoid their repetition,” Serena Liebengood wrote.

A violent mob of Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
A violent mob of Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.
AP

“Although Howie was severely sleep-deprived, he remained on duty — as he was directed — practically around the clock from January 6th through the 9th. On the evening of the 9th, he took his life at our home.”

The widow called on the police department to categorize this death as in the line of duty.

Acting UCSP Chief Yogananda Pittman said in a statement to CBS, “While I want to support the Liebengood family to the maximum extent possible, Line of Duty Death declarations are given to officers who die while carrying out official law enforcement responsibilities.”

Wexton (D-Virginia) said, though, Howie Liebengood’s “death was a direct result of his defending the U.S. Capitol, an institution that he was devoted to and loved.”

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