Police defending the US Capitol on Jan. 6 were speared with an electric “cattle prod,” gouged with nail-barbed clubs, and had their gas masks ripped from their heads. All those violent acts are captured in newly released videos of the attack, footage the FBI hopes will lead them to 10 men they say were behind “the most egregious assaults on Federal officers” during the day’s violence.
The FBI released 10 videos Thursday, each of which focuses on one of 10 attackers yet to be identified. All but one capture individuals directly assaulting police officers surrounded by large, surging crowds.
These videos depict deeply violent encounters.
In one, an attacker strikes a cop with a crude improvised mace or “morning star”-style weapon. FBI spokesperson Lira Gallagher told Coffee or Die Magazine that analysts believe the weapon is a broken table leg with nails driven through one end. In the video, a man swings the weapon repeatedly at a line of officers who appear to be holding their ground in a doorway and strikes one officer’s head so hard that the nail momentarily catches in the cop’s helmet until the attacker wrenches the weapon free.
In another video, an attacker who appears older than many in the crowd jabs what Gallagher called an electrified “cattle prod” at an officer as the two struggle. The buzzing of the baton’s electric elements can be heard several times as he strikes.
In a third video, a man attacks an officer by grabbing the filter on the officer’s gas mask, violently ripping the mask back and forth, twisting and jerking the officer’s head and neck. Pressed against a wall of his own fellow cops, the officer is unable to retreat or defend himself as the attacker pulls and jerks his head.
Two other videos show men spraying officers with pressurized chemicals that Gallagher identified as a discharging fire extinguisher and an irritant akin to pepper spray.
In the months since the attack, authorities have arrested more than 300 people they believe participated in the Jan. 6 riot, including 65 on charges of assaulting officers. However, the bureau called the 10 men pictured in the newly released videos among the “most violent” in the crowd that day.
Releasing pictures and videos has proved to be an effective technique for investigators. Authorities made three arrests last week based on tips from photographs and videos:
- A man who tipsters identified as a former Army Special Forces soldier was charged with assaulting four Capitol Police officers on Jan. 6. According to a federal arrest warrant, two witnesses identified Jeffrey McKellop, of Fishersville, Virginia, as the man shown assaulting four officers on several videos taken Jan. 6. In the videos, the man throws a flagpole “like a spear” at a Capitol Police officer, cutting the officer’s face, according to arrest warrants. He also is seen trading punches with other police. The FBI said publicly released pictures of McKellop prompted both witnesses to come forward. One said they were “99% certain” that the man in videos and pictures was McKellop. One claimed to have served with McKellop for 15 years, and both said he was a retired Special Forces soldier. The warrant said the FBI matched the tactical vest and helmet of the man in the video with gear used by McKellop on deployments. In pictures from the day, a patch of the flag of the nation of Georgia is visible on the man’s tactical vest, while the back of his gear has a patch of the US Army Special Forces flash.
- Two other men were arrested in the death of Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick. The FBI says that videos from the attack and tips from the public identified Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia, as the men who sprayed Sicknick with “bear spray.” Sicknick was “incapacitated” by the spray, hospitalized, and died the next day. A second officer sprayed by the pair, a woman identified as “C. Edwards” in the arrest warrant, reported injuries under eyelids and significant scarring from the spray.