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Tuesday August 16th

Former Chapel Hill business-owner charged with assault of Capitol Police officer

Riot police clear the hallway inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS
Buy Photos Riot police clear the hallway inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/TNS

A former Chapel Hill business-owner was one of two people arrested and charged with the assault of the U.S. Capitol officer Brian Sicknick, who was killed during the Jan. 6 riot, on Monday.

Julian Khater, a former co-owner of Frutta Bowls in Chapel Hill, and George Tanios face a number of charges including assaulting a federal officer with a dangerous weapon, conspiracy to injure an officer, civil disorder and obstructing or impeding any official proceeding.

According to the Associated Press, the men each made court appearances on Monday and will remain imprisoned pending future hearings. Tanios was scheduled to have a detention hearing on Thursday.

According to the complaint, surveillance footage showed Khater and Tanios working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance, spraying them in the face. 

Officer Sicknick and two other officers, who were standing guard behind metal bicycle racks, suffered injuries as a result of being sprayed by Khater, including being temporarily blinded. The complaint states that the officers were incapacitated and were unable to perform duties for at least 20 minutes or longer while they recovered. 

Khater co-owned Frutta Bowls in Chapel Hill from 2018 to 2019 before moving to a store in State College, Pennsylvania. According to the complaint, law enforcement received a tip that identified Khater based on his LinkedIn page and statements from a former colleague.

Sicknick was one of five people who died in the Capitol riot. It is unclear if Khater and Tanios’ actions led to Sicknick's death. According to the AP, Capitol Police said Sicknick died after he was injured while engaging with protestors, and his death is considered to be a line-of-duty death.

 Officials said they are still waiting on Sicknick’s toxicology results.

@brittmcgee21

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com 

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