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Two Men Charged With Assaulting Brian Sicknick With Bear Spray

(Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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Two men were arrested on Sunday and charged with assaulting Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who died following the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Julian Elie Khater, 32, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, are charged with nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon and civil disorder and obstruction, according to the Justice Department.

Prosecutors allege that the two men sprayed bear spray outside the Capitol building, hitting Sicknick and several other Capitol police officers. Sicknick, who joined the Capitol police in 2008, died a day after the attack on the Capitol building.

Federal authorities have yet to confirm Sicknick’s cause of death.

News reports soon after the riots said that he was attacked with a fire extinguisher inside the Capitol. Reports later came out that investigators doubted that Sicknick was hit with a fire extinguisher and that he may have died from a stroke or other medical emergency. (RELATED: FBI Director Refuses To Disclose Brian Sicknick’s Cause Of Death)

Khater and Tanios have not been charged directly in connection with Sicknick’s death. The Washington Post reported that they will appear in federal court on Monday.

A makeshift memorial for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who was fatally injured when a pro-Trump mob stormed and entered the Capitol Building on Wednesday, near the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 9, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Al Drago/Getty Images)

According to an affidavit signed by FBI Special Agent Riley Palmertree, tipsters identified Khater and Tanios after the FBI released a notice seeking information on men seen in surveillance video inside the Capitol.

One tipster said that the men grew up together in New Jersey. The affidavit says that Khater lives in State College, Pennsylvania, while Tanios lives in Morgantown, W.V., where he runs a sandwich shop.

The affidavit also includes photos of Tanios wearing a shirt at the Capitol with the same logo from his store.

According to Palmertree, Khater is seen on video spraying a canister of bear spray into Sicknick’s face.

“Give me that bear shit,” Khater allegedly told Tanios in a video recorded near where Sicknick was standing with other officers, according to the affidavit.

Palmertree wrote that surveillance footage shows Sicknick and two other officers react to being hit with the bear spray.

“The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes,” Palmertree wrote.

He said that all three suffered injuries as a result of being sprayed and that Sicknick reported to his supervisors and colleagues that he had been sprayed in the face with a substance. Two other officers said that the substance was stronger than anything they had been exposed to during their law enforcement training, according to Palmertree.

Four other people died during the Capitol riots, in which a group largely made up of Trump supporters breached the Capitol building to protest a vote being held to confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, was fatally shot by a police officer inside the Capitol as she entered a restricted area of the building. Three other people died during the riot from other medical incidents.

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