Two charged with assaulting police officer Brian Sicknick in Capitol riot
A cloud of colored smoke appears as a crowd of US President Donald Trump supporters storm the US Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021.
Leah Millis | Reuters
Authorities have arrested two men and charged with assaulting Brian Sicknick, the police officer who died as a result of the pro-Trump invasion of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, NBC News reported Monday.
The men arrested on Sunday and expected to appear in federal court later Monday are not currently charged with killing Sicknick, NBC reported, citing a federal law enforcement agency.
Julian Elie Khater, 32, from Pennsylvania and 39-year-old George Pierre Tanios from West Virginia are accused of attacking Sicknick with a substance similar to bear spray, according to NBC.
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Video footage of Khater and Tanios on Jan. 6 shows that the two men “worked together and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement,” NBC reported, according to a search warrant affidavit in West Virginia federal court.
“Give me the bear …” said Khater before reaching into Tanios’ backpack, claiming the affidavit and quoting the “open source media video” of the incident.
At around 2:20 p.m., Khater, holding a white spray canister, walks towards a bicycle rack barrier in front of the Capitol, where a number of officers, including Sicknick, were stationed, the court document says.
A U.S. Capitol officer holds a program in which people honor the remains of U.S. Capitol officer Brian Sicknick, who lays in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC on February 3, 2021 Pay respect.
Demetrius Freeman | AFP | Getty Images
Minutes later, Khater appears to be lifting the canister and pointing it at the officers, who, according to the affidavit, were five to eight feet away.
Sicknick and two other officers “all react one after the other to something that hits them in the face,” says the affidavit. “The officers immediately withdraw from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash their eyes out,” it said.
“All three officers were unable to work and were unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or more while they were recovering from the spray,” the affidavit said.
Sicknick died around 9:30 p.m. on January 7th from injuries sustained during the riot, according to the US Capitol Police. He joined the USCP in 2008.
According to a Justice Department press release, Khater and Tanios are charged, among other things, with attacking federal officials with a dangerous weapon, engaging in conspiracy, obstructing an official trial, restricted violence and disorderly behavior.
Tanios is expected to appear at 2 p.m. in the US District Court for Northwest Virginia, while Khater is due to appear in federal court in New Jersey at 3 p.m., Justice Department sources told NBC.
The arrests were first reported by the Washington Post on Monday morning.
Khater and Tanios were reportedly among the thousands who stormed the Capitol or stirred up outside the building, forced a joint congressional session to evacuate their chambers, and delayed efforts to confirm President Joe Biden’s election victory over then-President Donald Trump.
The invasion of the pro-Trump mob resulted in five deaths. To date, more than 300 people have been charged in connection with the riot and prosecutors are awaiting further charges.
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