Politics

Two were arrested for attacking policeman Brian Sicknick, who died after the 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 on charges of assaulting Brian Sicknick, the police officer who died in the U.S. Capitol on January 6 as a result of the pro-Trump invasion.

Julian Elie Khater, 32, from Pennsylvania and George Pierre Tanios, 39, from West Virginia were arrested on Sunday and charged with attacking Sicknick and other officials with a substance similar to bear spray. You are currently not accused of killing Sicknick.

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During their first appearances in separate federal courts on Monday afternoon, both men were ordered to be temporarily detained behind bars until future hearings.

Video footage of Khater and Tanios on Jan. 6 shows the two men “worked together and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement,” according to a search warrant affidavit in West Virginia federal court.

Julian Khater from his court appearance on March 15, 2021.

Source: Art Lien

George Tanios from his court appearance on March 15, 2021.

Source: Art Lien

“Give me the bear s —” said Khater before reaching into Tanios’ backpack, claiming the affidavit and citing “open source media video” of the incident outside the Capitol.

“Wait, wait, not yet, not yet … it’s still early,” Tanios replies, according to the affidavit.

At around 2:20 p.m., Khater, holding a white spray canister, walks towards a bicycle rack barrier in front of the building where a number of officers, including Sicknick, were stationed, the court document says.

Minutes later, Khater appears to be lifting the canister and pointing it at the officers who, according to the affidavit, were standing 5 to 8 feet away.

City Police officer D. Chapman, armed with a working Body Weared Camera (BWC) device, holds his arm against a person identified by the Justice Department as Julian Elie Khate, who appears to be holding a canister in a still image a video captured in the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 and published on a Justice Department criminal complaint posted in Washington, United States on March 15, 2021.

DOJ | via Reuters

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.

Lt. Bagshaw of the Metropolitan Police Department, armed with a working Body Weared Camera (BWC), sprayed a person identified by the Justice Department as Julian Elie Khate into a still image from a video captured on January 6, 2021 and in the United States was published criminal complaint from the Department of Justice in Washington, USA, March 15, 2021.

DOJ | via Reuters

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.

Both men were arrested on Sunday. Khater was arrested while getting off a plane at Newark Airport, New Jersey, and Tanios was arrested at his home in West Virginia, according to a Justice Department press release.

Khater and Tanios are charged with attacking federal officials with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy, obstruction of an official process, restricted violence and disorderly behavior, the Justice Department said.

The most serious charges concern imprisonment for a maximum of 20 years.

“The attack on the US Capitol and on our police officers, including Brian Sicknick, was an attack on our democracy,” said Acting Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman in a USCP statement Monday afternoon.

“Those who committed these heinous crimes must be held accountable and – let me be clear – these unlawful acts will not and will not be tolerated by this department,” said Pittman.

The statement stated that a “multi-jurisdiction investigation” into Sicknick’s death is still active.

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.

The arrests were first reported by the Washington Post on Monday morning.

– CNBC’s Dan Mangan contributed to this report.

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