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Senin, 15 Maret 2021

Two people charged over assault of US police officer Brian Sicknick, who died after Capitol riot - ABC News

Two men have been arrested and charged with assaulting the US police officer who died in the wake of the riot at the nation's Capitol in January.

George Tanios, 39, of West Virginia, and Julian Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, were arrested on Sunday.

They face an array of charges, including assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy and other offences.

Officer Brian Sicknick was allegedly sprayed with bear spray during the riot, but officials do not yet know whether it caused his death a day later.

Investigators initially believed he was hit in the head with a fire extinguisher, based on statements collected early in the investigation, according to two people familiar with the case.

But as they have collected more evidence, the theory of the case has evolved.

Investigators now believe Mr Sicknick may have ingested a chemical substance — possibly bear spray — that may have contributed to his death, officials have said.

The arrests are the closest federal prosecutors have come to identifying and charging anyone associated with the deaths that happened during and after the riot.

Five people died, including a woman who was shot by a police officer inside the Capitol.

But many rioters are facing charges of injuring police officers, who were attacked with bats, sprayed with irritants, punched and kicked, and rammed with metal gates meant to keep the insurrectionists from the Capitol.

Trump supporters climb a stone wall during a riot at the US Capitol.
Many rioters are facing charges of injuring police officers.(

AP: Jose Luis Magana

)

Capitol riot an 'attack on our democracy'

Mr Sicknick and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks as the mob descended on the Capitol on January 6.

"Give me that bear shit," Mr Khater said before he reached into Mr Tanios's backpack, according to court papers.

Mr Tanios told Mr Khater "not yet" because it was "still early," but Mr Tanios responded that "they just f***ing sprayed me".

Mr Khater was then seen holding a can of chemical spray, prosecutors allege.

Mr Khater walked through the crowd toward the bike rack barrier. Rioters began pulling on one of the racks, and Mr Khater was seen with his arm in the air and the canister in his hand while standing within 2.5 metres of the officers, authorities said.

Video footage shows the officers reacting one by one — bringing their hands to their faces and rushing to find water to flush out their eyes — after being sprayed, according to court papers.

Another officer eventually spotted Mr Khater spraying the substance and sprayed Mr Khater himself, authorities said.

The men each made brief court appearances from jail via video conference on Monday and will remain behind bars pending future hearings.

Police stand in front of the Capitol in Washington in a cloud of gas.
Mr Sicknick and other officers were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks as the mob descended on the Capitol on January 6.(

AP: Julio Cortez

)

In a statement, Capitol Police Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman called the attack on the Capitol and its officers "an attack on our democracy".

"Those who perpetrated these heinous crimes must be held accountable, and — let me be clear — these unlawful actions are not and will not be tolerated by this Department," Ms Pittman said.

The attack happened as Congress was voting to certify Joe Biden's electoral win over Donald Trump.

Mr Trump had urged supporters on the National Mall to "fight like hell" to overturn his defeat.

A Senate impeachment trial later acquitted him of inciting an insurrection.

AP

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2021-03-15 23:13:15Z
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