Lebanese-Americans charged with assault following pro-Trump Capital riot

Lebanese-Americans charged with assault on police officer, who later died, during pro-Trump Capitol riot
3 min read
17 March, 2021
Lebanese-Americans Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios were charged with assaulting police officers during the Capitol riots.
The Capitol riot happend in January [Getty]
Two Lebanese-Americans were charged with assaulting police officers during the Capitol riot that took place on 6 January in support of former president Donald Trump.

Julian Elie Khater, 32, from Pennsylvania and George Pierre Tanios, 39, from West Virginia, were among hundreds of right-wing and far-right protesters who stormed the Capitol building in January, leaving at least 140 police officers injured and one dead.

Brian Sicknick was one of several police officers allegedly sprayed with an unidentified chemical by Khater and Tanios, and later died. It is yet to be established whether the two events are linked.

Khater and Tanios have been charged with nine counts for spraying the chemical, including several relating to violence and assaulting officers.

However, they were not charged with murder in relation to Sicknick's death. The court record makes no mention of the officer's death nor does it link it to the spray.

The content of the chemical spray remains unknown, but court records said that Khater had described the chemical as "bear sh*t".

"Officers Sicknick, Edwards, and Chapman, who are standing within a few feet of Khater, all react, one by one, to something striking them in the face," the FBI has stated in court papers after studying a video of the incident.

"The officers immediately retreat from the line, bring their hands to their faces, and rush to find water to wash out their eyes."

The FBI's account reports that Khater grabbed the spray can nearly an hour after the riot had started, but Tanios urged him to use it later on.

"Hold on, not yet… it's still early," Tanios was quoted as saying, according to the records.

Later on in the riot, an officer's body camera caught Khater spraying him, Sicknick, and a third, nearby policeman.

The officers who survived the attack were temporarily blinded and said the chemical sprayed on them was stronger than anything they were exposed to during police training.

Before finally identifying them, the FBI had been seeking information on Khater and Tanios for weeks through fliers displaying images of both.

Tanios runs a sandwich shop called "Sandwich University" in Morgantown, West Virginia and refers to himself as the "sandwich Nazi" on Instagram.

Tanios also ran another restaurant which served "fat" sandwiches, some of which are named "fat drunk", "fat blunt" and "fat b***ch".

In a Kickstarter campaign, Tanios wrote: "I am a 1st generation Maronite Lebanese American, born and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. I wear that badge proudly but please don't hold that against me, Morgantown! I grew up in and around the Grease Trucks at Rutgers University."

"My Uncles Abdul & Joe Eid were fresh off the boat when they purchased the Original R U Hungry Grease Truck from my second family, The Marouns. I could write pages about them but that is not for Kickstarter. They are a special bunch and a true inspiration to many."

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