Federal appeals court orders release of man charged with attacking police during Capitol riot

The three-judge panel ruled the district court had "clearly erred" in its judgment to deny the West Virginia man his release

Updated: August 10, 2021 - 1:52pm

A federal appeals court has ordered the release of a man accused of macing a police officer and attacking Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick during the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals determined Monday that ta lower court had "clearly erred" in its judgment that George Pierre Tanios, 39, of Morgantown, W.V.,  could not be released into the broader public without risk to safety. 

"The record reflects that Tanios has no past felony convictions, no ties to any extremist organizations, and no post-Jan. 6 criminal behavior that would otherwise show him to pose a danger to the community within the meaning of the Bail Reform Act," the court wrote. 

According to an FBI affidavit, Tanios appeared in a video with another defendant "working together to assault law enforcement officers with an unknown chemical substance by spraying officers directly in the face and eyes." 

Months ago, U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Aloi said, "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," adding, "Mr. Tanios, you chose to be part of that."

Tanios was then denied bail by District Judge Thomas Hogan, who decided that he, as well as co-defendant Julian Khater, had "obviously aided and coordinated" an attack on law enforcement officers at the Capitol.