FBI: 2 New Jersey natives charged with assaulting US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during riot
Two natives of New Jersey have been arrested and charged with assaulting U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during the riot at the Capitol in Washington.
The two suspects and Sicknick are all from Middlesex County. The two men arrested have ties in New Brunswick.
According to U.S. Capitol Police, George Tanios, 39, and Julian Khater, 32, worked together to assault Sicknick and other others with a toxic chemical spray.
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Images have been released showing the two men talking to each other during the insurrection on the Capitol, and per the FBI, Khater reached into Tanios' backpack for the bear spray. Both are said to have had a conversation, seen and heard on video, where Khater allegedly is heard saying, “Give me that bear [expletive].”
Tanios is allegedly heard saying, “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet…it’s still early.” To which Khater allegedly replies, “They just [expletive] sprayed me.”
Court papers allege a police officer's body camera caught Khater discharging the toxic spray into the faces of Officer Sicknick and two other officers.
Photos also show the moment they were sprayed. Sicknick collapsed at his office following the riot. He died the next day.
Both men were arrested Sunday on multiple charges, including assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy and other offenses. Former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram believes authorities have a powerful weapon in court, even if they can't bring murder or manslaughter charges against the men.
"The other two officers are witnesses,” says Milgram. “You are also going to have two officers who are going to say 'I was sprayed in the face with a chemical substance.’"
The pinitol piece of the case is the pending autopsy. Until the autopsy is completed, investigators won't be able to say with certainty if the exposure to the toxic spray directly caused officer Sicknick's death.