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Man charged in Jan. 6 assault on Capitol police officer Brian D. Sicknick ordered released

A memorial for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick.
A memorial for U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian D. Sicknick. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

A three-judge appeals court panel has ordered the release of West Virginia sandwich shop owner George Tanios pending trial in the Jan. 6 chemical-spray assault on three police officers including Brian D. Sicknick, who died the following day after suffering two strokes.

A lower court “clearly erred in its individualized assessment of appellant’s dangerousness,” the judges from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in an order filed Monday night.

“The record reflects that Tanios has no past felony convictions, no ties to any extremist organizations, and no post-January 6 criminal behavior that would otherwise show him to pose a danger to the community within the meaning of the Bail Reform Act,” the panel’s order said.

The court gave prosecutors seven days to appeal or seek rehearing before the full appeals court.

The ruling came two weeks after a different three-judge panel of the same appeals court upheld the continuing detention of Tanios’s co-defendant, Julian Khater.

Both men, who have pleaded not guilty, have been jailed since their arrest in March, when they were arrested on nine counts, including in the assaults on Sicknick, a fellow Capitol Police officer and a D.C. officer.

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In May, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan of Washington ordered Tanios and Khater remain detained, saying government videos of the assault on Sicknick and the two other officers showed a degree of premeditation and demonstrated their future dangerousness to the public.

“These two gentlemen are law-abiding, respected individuals in the community, and it makes it very difficult for the court to make this conclusion, but they still committed this attack on uniformed police officers. I don’t find a way around that,” Hogan said at the time.

Sicknick, 42, was injured while attempting to hold back a violent crowd on the west terrace of the Capitol.

He collapsed hours later and died the next day of natural causes, officials said. Neither Tanios or Khater is alleged to have caused Sicknick’s death.

The medical examiner said an autopsy found no evidence Sicknick suffered an allergic reaction to chemical irritants. There was also no evidence of internal or external injuries, the medical examiner said.