Former D.C. police officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack and was beaten by a mob during the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection, was heckled Thursday night by protesters near the Capitol. He had been attending a hearing by the House select Committee investigating last year’s riot.
Then a man wearing a black hat and holding a large banner with an image of former president Donald Trump and the words “toxic loser” uses the banner to separate Fanone from the people following him. Shortly after, a man in dark-colored shorts falls over, screaming. He tells nearby police officers that the man with the anti-Trump banner “just hit me with his pole.”
Photos taken by The Washington Post and videos on social media show the man carrying the banner later being handcuffed by law enforcement. In one video, the man identifies himself as Stephen Parlato, of Boulder, Colo. The man said he was in D.C. to support the hearings and that he had intervened because Fanone’s hecklers were “within inches of his face. And [Fanone] was trying to get away.”
U.S. Capitol Police did not return multiple requests for comment late Thursday and early Friday.
Earlier in the day, Fanone attended a hearing for one of his accused attackers. “I hope from the bottom of my heart that he suffers” in prison, the former officer told a federal judge.
As he was leaving the hearing, Fanone sharply criticized Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), using colorful language while speaking to a reporter. Hawley’s actions on the day of the insurrection were a focal point of Thursday’s hearing; he had raised a fist of support to the crowd, which included some eventual insurrectionists, outside the Capitol, and footage later showed him fleeing the eventual riot.
Fanone resigned from the police force last year and has spoken about his slow recovery from the physical and emotional trauma of the attack. He answered a citywide emergency on Jan. 6, 2021, and rushed to the Capitol to fend off the pro-Trump rioters. He was pummeled unconscious with fists and poles and repeatedly stunned with a Taser on his neck.
Rioters then tried to yank his gun from his holster.
“Kill him with his own gun!” one yelled.
Fanone, who said he voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election, has outspokenly criticized lawmakers and pro-Trump voters for downplaying the violence that occurred last year.