Mother of Jan. 6 officer ‘swatted’ at Va. home hours after he criticized Trump

Michael Fanone, a former D.C. police officer who was violently assaulted during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, criticized former President Donald Trump on Tuesday outside the courthouse where Trump is on trial in a hush money case. Hours later, he said his mother was “swatted” at her Virginia home.

Fanone said that his 75-year-old mother, in her nightgown, opened the door to officers at her home in Fairfax County. “She was scared,” Fanone told The Washington Post in an interview Thursday morning.

A fake note purporting to be from Fanone had been emailed to a number of people, claiming the writer of the note had killed their mother and planned to go to the recipient’s school to shoot others. It provided the home address of Fanone’s mother. NBC News first reported the incident.

Fanone said the swatting — a form of online harassment involving the reporting of fake crimes to draw an emergency law enforcement response to target a victim — was frightening.

The swatting email “is sending law enforcement officers into a situation where they are acting under the assumption there is an active shooter in progress,” Fanone said. “It’s inherently dangerous. All it takes is one misinterpretation of someone’s actions — my mother in this case — and it could go catastrophically wrong.”

Fanone, who has been subject to threats since he became the face of the law enforcement response to the attack on the Capitol and called out lawmakers who played down the attack, said the majority of his interactions with the public are now negative. “My mere presence puts people in an absolute rage,” he said.

He attributed the swatting incident to anger over his criticism of Trump and what happened on Jan. 6. He said his mother described the police response as aggressive and that it appeared to her that the officers were wearing tactical gear.

The Fairfax County Police Department said in a statement that they were alerted to a suspicious email by the Montgomery County Police Department. Officers responded to a block in Alexandria around 7:40 p.m.

Authorities confirmed the call was to Fanone’s mother’s home and said they flagged the call as likely false before they responded. Their description of how the call was handled differed from that of Fanone’s.

“Our patrol officers wearing their everyday patrol uniforms walked up to the home, knocked on the door and kindly spoke to the resident … who confirmed she was safe,” said Brian Reilly, Fairfax County’s executive assistant police chief. He said Fanone’s mother invited the officers inside. No arrest has been made.

The email, which was reviewed by The Post, identifies the author as Fanone and says, “I have killed my … mom.” The person then threatens to go shoot people at a school.

Fanone said the officers asked his mother where her son was. Fanone said his mother showed the officers pictures of him and told them of his background with police.

Fanone said that on Wednesday someone also sent an unsolicited pizza to his mother’s home.

Earlier on Tuesday, Fanone had joined a campaign event for President Biden outside of the New York courthouse where attorneys presented their closing arguments in the case against Trump over charges he falsified business records to cover up hush money payments to adult-film actor Stormy Daniels.

Fanone, who said he voted for Trump in 2016, said that the former president would govern as an “authoritarian who answers to and serves only himself.” He said supporters of Trump who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 “were fueled by Trump’s lies and the lies of his surrogates, lies that the 2020 election was stolen.”

He added: “Those same lies have been spewed by Donald Trump and his surrogates about what happened to me and so many other police officers on Jan. 6, 2021. That day I was brutally assaulted.”

During the insurrection at the Capitol, Fanone and another officer were attacked by rioters, who struck them with metal pipes and tasers. Fanone suffered a mild heart attack and drifted in and out of consciousness, and said he heard attackers shouting to “Kill him with his own gun,” The Washington Post reported days after the insurrection.

He resigned from the force 11 months later.

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