Two men have been arrested and charged with assaulting Brian Sicknick, the police officer who died after Trump supporters stormed the United States Capitol on January 6 in support of the former president’s attempt to reverse the electoral defeat of Joe Biden.
Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia, were arrested by the FBI on Sunday and are expected to appear in federal court on Monday.
They were charged with assaulting Sicknick with a “toxic spray,” which is believed to be bear spray, which Khater was allegedly seen unloading on the officer’s face in the images of the riot. It is not yet known whether it caused Sicknick’s death.
Sicknick, 42, was one of five people who died as a direct result of the assault, which Donald Trump incited when he told his supporters to “fight like hell” for his cause. The officer died in the hospital on January 7. A police statement said he was “injured while physically interacting with protesters” and “returned to his division office and collapsed.”
His body lay in state in the Capitol. The cause of his death is still unknown. Initial statements that he suffered blunt force trauma after being hit with a fire extinguisher were we walk back. Investigators now believe that Sicknick may have ingested a chemical, possibly bear spray, that may have played a role in his death.
Court papers stated: “Officers Sicknick, Edwards and Chapman suffered injuries as a result of Khater spraying their faces with an unknown substance. The officers were temporarily blinded by the substance, were temporarily unable to perform their duties and required medical attention and assistance from their colleagues. “
In social media images, Khater is seen spraying Sicknick and others with a spray that he refers to as “bear shit,” according to court documents. The spray has not been directly linked to Sicknick’s death.
Newspapers claim that Khater is seen heading towards Tanios, then says, “Give me that bear shit,” and reaches into Tanios’s backpack. According to the newspapers, Tanios says, “Wait, wait, not yet, not yet … it’s still early.”
Newspapers say: “Khater is then seen emphatically telling Tanios: ‘I just got sprayed,’ and Khater is seen holding a white can with a black lid that appears to be a chemical spray can.”
Court documents claim that the exchange shows that the two men were “working in concert and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement.”
According to the Be Bear Aware CampaignHumans exposed to pepper spray, intended for use against dangerous bears, may experience “chest pain, cold sweat, or shallow breathing”, while “asthma sufferers may experience acute stress.”
The US Department of Justice has opened a federal murder investigation into Sicknick’s death, but prosecutors are still evaluating what charges can be brought. The medical examiner’s report is incomplete and the Capitol Police have said they are awaiting toxicology results.
More than 300 people They have been arrested for the Capitol riots. Trump was indicted for inciting the insurrection and acquitted when only seven Republican senators decided he was guilty.
Cory Booker, a Democratic Senator from New Jersey, paid tribute to Sicknick in comments in the Senate in January, calling his death a “crime” that “requires the full attention of federal law enforcement agencies.”
“When white supremacists attacked our nation’s capital,” Booker said, “they took the life of one of our officers. They spilled his blood, took a son from his parents. They took a brother from his brothers. “
Booker also called Sicknick “a Jersey guy through and through.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism