Feds release videos of Jan. 6 riot showing police assault

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, photo, police form a line to guard the Capitol after violent rioters stormed the Capitol, in Washington. The top watchdog for the U.S. Capitol Police will testify to Congress for the first time about the departments broad failures before and during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Among them was missed intelligence and old weapons that officers didnt feel comfortable using. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON – Federal authorities released videos Wednesday showing Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died after defending the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, being attacked with a chemical spray as the pro-Trump mob descended on the building.

The videos were released after media outlets, including The Associated Press, went to court to demand that they be made available to the press. The Department of Justice late Tuesday withdrew its opposition to release the videos to the media outlets.

It comes as attorneys for the two men charged in the assault on Sicknick and other officers are fighting to be released from jail while they await trial. Lawyers for George Tanios and Julian Khater told a judge during a hearing this week that the two men don't deserve to be behind bars while they fight the case.

Prosecutors at the hearing walked back their initial statements that the substance was bear spray, saying instead they now believe it was pepper spray.

“This is not a premeditated, planned event,” said Joseph Tacopina, an attorney for Khater who argued the government was wrongly trying to paint his client to be a “felon hellbent on destroying democracy," and said that his client was being treated as though he was the most aggressive of the bunch.

“Many defendants who have been charged with violent and aggressive behavior have been released without any bail at all," Tacopina argued.

A lawyer for Tanios called two witnesses who said he was a law-abiding father and business owner who did not deserve to be behind bars. Attorney Beth Gross said her client is on video trying to dissuade Khater from using any chemical irritants.

A judge did not immediately decide whether to release the men and set a second hearing for early May.