For two months, federal investigators have searched for clues in the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died on Jan. 7 after defending the Capitol Building from a mob of Trump supporters on Jan. 6.
On Monday, the first news broke in the Sicknick investigation.
Two men have been arrested and charged with assaulting Sicknick, The Washington Post first reported.
Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios aren’t charged with Sicknick’s death, but they are accused of assault in the nine counts against them.
Charging papers reported allege that Khater told Tanios, “Give me that bear shit” during the siege, and that Khater is seen on video discharging a canister into the faces of Sicknick and two other officers about nine minutes later.
Sicknick’s death has long been a mystery: Initial, anonymously sourced reports indicated that he’d been hit in the head with a fire extinguisher during the attack, but investigators made no such claims publicly and the chairman of the Capitol Police union told TPM that he could not confirm the reports.
Then, new reports indicated that investigators had found video of Sicknick being sprayed with a chemical irritant.
The criminal complaint against Khater and Tanios lists three counts of assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to injure a federal officer and five other counts related to the insurrection.
The charging papers for Khater and Tanios allege that the video evidence of the assault on Sicknick is clear.
In an application for a search warrant filed Sunday, an FBI agent stated that he had reviewed footage of Khater and Tanios “working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes.”
“Your affiant further observed these SUBJECTS appeared to time the deployment of chemical substances to coincide with other rioters’ efforts to forcibly remove the bike rack barriers that were preventing the rioters from moving closer to the Capitol building.”
After Khater demanded “that bear shit,” he reached into a backpack on Tanios’ back, the agent alleged. Tanios allegedly said “Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet… its still early,” to which Khater allegedly replied “They just fucking sprayed me.”
The agent alleged that Khater is in the Trump beanie in the photo below, holding “a white can with a black top that appears to be a can of chemical spray.” Tanios, the agent alleged, was wearing a red hat and dark hooded sweatshirt.
Body camera footage shows Khater with his right hand in the air, holding a what appears to be a cannister and aiming it in the direction of several police officers, who then react to something striking them in the face, according to the agent’s affidavit.
Khater allegedly continued spraying something in the direction of officers, before a Metropolitan Police Department lieutenant sprayed something back at him, as seen through the lieutenant’s body camera:
The affidavit does not discuss Sicnick’s death, but says that he and two other officers were temporarily blinded by the substance and incapacitated for at least 20 minutes.
“Officers Edwards and Chapman also described the spray to their face as a substance as strong as, if not stronger than, any version of pepper spray they had been exposed to during their training as law enforcement officers,” the affidavit said. “Officer Sicknick reported to his supervisors and colleagues that he had been sprayed in the face with a substance.”
In a motion for pre-trial detention, federal prosecutors alleged there was serious risk that Tanios would flee, and said there were no conditions of his release that would ensure community safety.
This post has been updated.