The Department of Justice released never-before-seen footage from the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 8. A compilation of 10 video sources gives a fresh look at the violent altercation between fallen U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick and two rioters arrested for assaulting him, reported Breaking 911.
Julian Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia, has been charged with assault and conspiracy.
Prosecutors have identified the videos and played them in court, but they have not been available. The video was made accessible by the government after a group of 14 media organizations lodged a legal motion in federal court, which WUSA9 won.
The Department of Justice agreed to release the videos after initially denying the media coalition’s demands for access to the evidence on the grounds of “strong public interest,” citing possible security issues about surveillance footage from the U.S. Capitol.
Six surveillance videos, three body camera videos taken by DC Police officers, and one open-source mobile phone video were used to create the footage.
Khater—identified by a red arrow in the videos, could be seen holding up a canister and moving it back and forth. In a bodycam video, nearby officers, including Sicknick, identified with a blue arrow, could be seen shielding their faces and running away.
“Khater reaches his hand towards Tanios’s backpack and then stands behind Tanios, appearing to reach inside the backpack and retrieve something,” according to prosecutors.
According to the government, Khater said to Tanios in one video: “Give me the bear s***,” to which Tanios responded, “Hang on, hold on, not yet, not yet… it’s still early.” Later, Khater was seen with a white can of chemical spray in his possession.
The government used this conversation in court to prove that “the two were working in concert and had a plan to use the toxic spray against law enforcement.”
Prosecutors claimed Khater was seen at the police line just after 2:23 p.m. “holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers’ direction while moving his right arm from side to side,” according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors claim that many officers, including Sicknick, “immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces, and rush to find water to wash out their eyes.
“Officer Sicknick can be seen bending over and washing his eyes out away from the line.
Authorities announced they had obtained copies of receipts showing Tanios bought four canisters of chemical spray on the evening of Jan. 5, the night before the Capitol attack.
Khater and Tanios have not been accused of breaking into the Capitol on Jan. 6, and neither has been implicated in Sicknick’s murder.
Prosecutors accused Tanios and Khater of “working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes.” At the same time, other rioters reportedly attempted to remove bike racks police used as obstacles to prevent the crowd from moving any further.
After reviewing footage of the incident, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Anthony Scarpelli acknowledged that it appeared Khater used a can of pepper spray or Mace against police officers, not bear spray.
According to Scarpelli, each of the defendants’ homes had a used can of pepper spray or Mace, as well as unused cans of bear spray.
Scarpelli argued that in the eyes of the law, the distinction should not matter.
“Why are they buying bear spray to go to a city? There are no bears in downtown D.C.,” Scarpelli told Hogan. “There is only one explanation why defendants are gearing up like this. They are lying in wait. They know an attack on the police line is going to happen. It’s premediated violence, point blank, with a dangerous weapon on unprotected, distracted officers.”
Both men requested that they be released from federal custody pending their conviction on the Capitol Riot charges. The Department of Justice argued against their release, claiming the seriousness of the alleged crimes, as well as the possible risk both men pose to the public, warrants their imprisonment.
A federal judge will hear additional claims on those issues on May 6.