A New Jersey man who admitted to shooting pepper spray in the face of Officer Brian D. Sicknick during the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison on Friday. A sea of uniformed police officers looked on.
Julian Khater was given an 80-month sentence, which ended one of the sad cases involving Officer Sicknick, who died a day after being sprayed with pepper spray during the commotion outside the Capitol.
At the same hearing, George Tanios, another man who was accused of being involved in the attack, was given credit for the five months he had already spent in jail. After the government agreed to drop an assault charge against him, Mr. Tanios pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in July.
Early reports said that Officer Sicknick died because of his injuries, but an autopsy later showed that he died of natural causes after having multiple strokes that were not caused by the violent pro-Trump riot. Still, prosecutors have said in court documents that Officer Sicknick was involved with rioters on January 6 and that “everything that happened contributed to his condition.”
At the sentencing hearing in Federal District Court in Washington, maybe 50 of Officer Sicknick’s fellow U.S. Capitol Police officers were there. There were so many of them that a few dozen of them had to move to an overflow room. Several members of Officer Sicknick’s family also gave moving statements at the hearing.
Understand the Events on Jan. 6
- Timeline: 64 days after Election Day 2020, on Jan. 6, 2021, a large group of people who voted for President Donald J. Trump broke into the Capitol. Here’s a close look at what happened during the attack.
- A Day of Rage: A Times investigation used thousands of videos and police radio transmissions to figure out what happened and why.
- Lost Lives: A report from the Senate that looked at both sides found that at least seven people died because of the attack.
- Jan. 6 Attendees: Many people who went to the Trump rally but didn’t go to the Capitol thought that day wasn’t bad for the country.
Gladys Sicknick, Officer Sicknick’s mother, told Mr. Khater that he had gone after her son “like he was an animal,” adding that whatever penalty he received was “not enough in my eyes.”
Mrs. Sicknick also said hurtful things about the rioters surrounding the Capitol.
“All of you bear responsibility for the injuries sustained by Brian’s fellow officers — the broken bones, head trauma and the continuing mental anguish they suffer and will endure for the rest of their lives,” she said. “Imagine the emotional pain that would cause someone to take his own life. Four officers committed suicide. You and your ‘movement’ caused their deaths.”
Officer Caroline Edwards was hurt in the same attack and talked to congressional investigators about what happened. In court, she also spoke to Judge Thomas F. Hogan, who was in charge of the case.
“Sometimes when I close my eyes I can still see his face, white as a sheet,” Officer Edwards said of Officer Sicknick, adding, “I would give anything to take the pain away from the Sicknick family and my fellow officers.”
Mr. Khater got one of the longest sentences out of the more than 950 people who have been charged so far in connection with the attack on the Capitol. People who were found guilty of assaulting police officers got the harshest sentences, which ranged from seven and a half to ten years in prison.
Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.