Appeals court orders release of man charged with macing police during Capitol riot

Appeals court orders release of man charged with macing police during Capitol riot
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A U.S. appeals court on Monday ordered the release of a man accused of macing a police officer at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and attacking Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died in the wake of the attack.

The three-judge panel determined that the district court had "clearly erred" when it determined that George Pierre Tanios could not be released into the community without risk to safety.

According to an FBI affidavit, Tanios was seen in video with Julian Elie Khater “working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes."

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A West Virginia judge ordered that Tanios be detained in March pending his trial. Tanios was indicted in Washington, D.C., that same month, WV News reports.

At the time of his indictment, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi said of Tanios, "My obligation is to the safety of our community. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything play out that was more dangerous to our community. ... And Mr. Tanios, you chose to be part of that."

In May, U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan denied bail for Tanios, ruling that he had “obviously aided and coordinated” with Khater in attacking police officers at the Capitol.

"To me, the evidence when you look at it suggests that the defendants had a plan. ... They had a plan to use those devices as weapons at the Capitol, which was executed — they did that," Hogan said, according to WV News.

An attorney representing Tanios filed an appeal seeking a bond release for Tanios in July, arguing that Hogan had been wrong in ruling that Tanios must remain in prison pending his trial.

"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 appeals court wrote in its decision on Monday.