The Justice Department reported Monday that two men have been arrested and charged with assaulting US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after responding to hundreds of rioters who stormed the Capitol on January 6.
During the Capitol riot, Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia, are accused of collaborating to spray officers, including Sicknick, with a hazardous chemical spray. According to court documents, Khater referred to the spray in the cannister as “bear sh*t,” however the Justice Department said Monday that the spray was unknown.
Investigators had been trying for weeks to piece together a federal murder case in Sicknick’s death, poring over video and photographs to try to pinpoint the exact moment he died. Initial reports that Sicknick had been hit with a fire extinguisher were false, according to investigators.
“Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of KHATER, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face. The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes,” the FBI wrote in court papers, describing the melee caught on video.
The two men face nine charges, with most of them involving abuse and attacking police officers. Federal investigators raided Tanios’ land in West Virginia this weekend, according to court documents.
According to court documents, prosecutors want him kept in jail awaiting trial because he could escape or impede justice, and they say he is a threat to the community.
Sicknick, a New Jersey native, joined the Capitol Police Department in July 2008 and previously worked in the First Responder’s Unit. He also worked for the New Jersey National Guard as a staff sergeant.
More than 300 people have been charged in connection with the pro-Trump rioters’ attack on the US Capitol on January 6 — a number that the Justice Department now estimates could easily exceed 400. Prosecutors said last week in court that new members of the Oath Keepers will likely face charges, adding to the current conspiracy lawsuit, which currently has nine defendants.