State College Man Arrested In January Assault Of Capitol Police Officer


U.S. authorities have arrested and charged two men with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick with bear spray during the January 6 Capitol riot but have not determined whether the exposure caused his death.

32-year-old Julian Khater of State College, Pennsylvania was arrested after stepping off an airplane at Newark Airport in New Jersey.

The men each made brief court appearances from jail via videoconference on Monday and will remain locked up pending future hearings. Tanios, who appeared in the Northern District of West Virginia, is represented by Beth Gross. Sicknick 42, previously lived in South River, New Jersey. The FBI says a tipster informed them that the men know each other from the Garden State, where they grew up together. A detention hearing was scheduled for Thursday for Tanios.

Earlier this month, news organizations that had reported Sicknick died after being struck with a fire extinguisher backed away from those reports as law enforcement sources told several outlets that they suspected Sicknick possibly died from exposure to a chemical irritant, like bear spray. Police said surveillance video and officer-worn body camera footage show clear evidence of the assault, regardless of whether those actions led to the officer's death. They were not charged with homicide.

Arrest papers said Khater allegedly told Tanios to "give [him] that bear shit".

One FBI agent alleges video showed Khater asking for bear spray. He said "when white supremacists attacked our nation's capital, they took the life of one of our officers".

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Khater and Tanios are charged with nine crimes connected to the January 6 attack, including assaulting Sicknick and two other police officers with a deadly weapon, the Post says. The officers retreated, bringing their hands to their faces and rushing to find water to wash out their eyes, authorities said.

"The officers were temporary blinded by the substance, were temporary disabled from performing their duties and needed medical attention and assistance from fellow officers", the criminal complaint reads. All three officers were incapacitated and unable to perform their duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered from the spray.

"Officer Edwards reported lasting injuries underneath her eyes, including scabbing that remained on her face for weeks", according to the court document. They also face charges of civil disorder and obstruction of a congressional proceeding. Federal officials and lawmakers have accused some rioters of using bear spray during the short-lived insurrection.

The FBI has already released about 250 photos of people being sought for assaulting federal law enforcement officers during the riot.

Sicknick and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks as the mob descended on the Capitol on January 6. A former colleague identified Khater and the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a tip from Tanios' former business partner, who also alleged he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from their business, court papers said.

The Post report said authorities filed charges after tipsters contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and allegedly identified Khater and Tanios from wanted images the Federal Bureau of Investigation publicized, which had been culled from surveillance video and officer-worn body camera footage, arrest papers say.

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