Capitol rioters accused of assaulting Officer Brian Sicknick denied pre-trial release

by Editorial Team

WASHINGTON DC, (Washington Insider Magazine) – The two men charged with assaulting Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during the Jan. 6 insurrection will remain behind bars while they await trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan denied pretrial release for accused rioters George Tanios and Julian Khater, who are charged with using bear spray to attack Sicknick and other cops as a mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol.

The judge called it “difficult” to keep the two men in jail, despite conceding that video evidence left “little doubt” about the suspects’ roles in attacking Sicknick, 42, who later died.

“These two gentlemen are law-abiding, respected individuals of their community, and it makes it very difficult for the court to make this conclusion,” Hogan said.

The judge said the pair remain not just a danger to their communities “but the American public as a whole.”

Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, W.V., and Khater, of State College, Pa., are both originally from the New Brunswick, N.J., area. They face assault and other charges.

The pair have not been charged with murder, as a Washington, D.C., medical examiner’s office ruled that Sicknick died from a stroke.

Lawyers for Tanios and Khater argued they don’t deserve to be locked up while they fight the case, noting that other accused Capitol rioters have been released. An attorney for Tanios claimed he had bought the chemical spray to protect himself.

“His only plans were to attend this rally,” said attorney, Beth Gross. “The intent wasn’t to go to a riot, the intent was to go to a rally to support their president.”

An FBI affidavit revealed that Khater and Tanios showed up at the police line on the Capitol’s west side around 2:09 p.m., as tear gas and chemical spray filled the air.

About five minutes later, Khater yells at Tanios to, “Give me that bear s—,” video shows — seemingly referring to the Frontiersman bear repellent, FBI video shows.

Khater appears to take the canister out of Tanios’ backpack, the video shows. When Tanios tells Khater to wait, Khater says, “They just sprayed me.”

At around 2:20 p.m. Khater approaches the police bike rack barricades. Sicknick and fellow officers are standing on the other side of the metal bars, the footage shows.

Three minutes later, when the mob begins to drag the bike racks and break the police line, Khater raises a canister and shoots a stream of spray that hits Sicknick.

Investigators initially thought Sicknick was killed after being slammed in the head with a fire extinguisher.

SOURCE

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