New videos released by the Department of Justice show the assault on Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of natural causes after engaging with rioters during the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
The videos have been entered into evidence in the criminal cases against Julian Khater, 32, of State College, Pennsylvania, and George Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, West Virginia. They are accused of spraying Sicknick and others with chemical spray, but not of causing his death.
The video was taken by six surveillance cameras, three Washington, D.C., police body cameras and one bystander cellphone video, the Justice Department said.
The videos show Sicknick and other officers being hit by a chemical spray and immediately falling back while a crowd of rioters grapple with police and attempt to push past a barricade. Another video shows Sicknick washing his eyes out and recovering after he’s been sprayed.
Tanios and Khater were indicted in March on 10 counts, including conspiracy to injure an officer, assault on a federal officer with a dangerous weapon and engaging in physical violence in a restricted area.
The Washington Medical Examiner released a report last week concluding that Sicknick had died of natural causes the day after the riot after suffering two strokes at the base of his brain stem.
The videos released Wednesday have been described by prosecutors and played in court, but have not been previously released outside the courtroom.
The Justice Department made the video available after a coalition of 14 media organizations, including NBC News, filed a motion arguing that the public had a "powerful interest" in seeing the evidence. The Capitol Police had opposed the release, saying it could further traumatize its officers.
In an interview with The Washington Post, the D.C. medical examiner, Dr. Francisco Diaz, said Sicknick didn’t suffer an allergic reaction after being sprayed with chemicals. But, he added, "all that transpired [on Jan. 6] played a role in his condition."
Prosecutors say Khater, marked by a red arrow in the videos and wearing a beanie with a pom-pom on top and a dark jacket, can be seen moving toward police lines with Tanios, who is marked by a blue arrow and is wearing a red hat, black backpack and dark hooded sweatshirt.
Just after 2:14 pm, prosecutors say in court documents, "Khater reaches his hand towards Tanios's backpack and then stands behind Tanios, appearing to reach inside the backpack and retrieve something."
Prosecutors say Khater tells Tanios, "Give me that bear s---," and Tanios responds, "Hold on, hold on, not yet, not yet. ... It's still early."
The government says this conversation is evidence the two were conspiring to attack law enforcement.
At a later point, Khater can be seen holding a white can of chemical spray in his hand, according to court records.
A few minutes afterward, Khater can be seen "holding a canister in his right hand and aiming it in the officers' direction while moving his right arm from side to side,” prosecutors say in court papers.
Several police officers, including Sicknick, "immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces and rush to find water to wash out their eyes," prosecutors say. "Officer Sicknick can be seen bending over and washing his eyes out away from the line."
Prosecutors say Tanios bought two cans of bear spray and two cans of pepper spray or Mace on Jan. 5 before driving to D.C. to meet Khater.
Khater's lawyers argue in court papers that the evidence doesn’t prove he sprayed police officers, while Tanios’ lawyer said he "emphatically denies each charge."
"Mr. Tanios did not spray any officer with O.C. spray, 'bear spray' or any other chemicals," Tanios' attorney said in a court filing. "Other than Mr. Tanios being present, the video clips fail to show much at all in terms of the criminal acts allegedly committed by Mr. Tanios."
Both men remain in federal custody while they await a May 6 detention hearing.