An online fundraiser for former DC cop Michael Fanone has raised more than $400,000. Fanone intervened during the January 6, 2021, riot at the US Capitol, where insurrectionists tased him, robbed him, and beat him with a flagpole. He endured a traumatic brain injury and a heart attack as a result. He later resigned from the force, saying many of his fellow officers resented him speaking out against former President Trump as well as his heightened profile and TV appearances.
Fanone has since published a book about his experiences and now has a part-time gig as a CNN analyst. Those income streams don’t come with security or health insurance—Fanone “tells me he’s worried all the time about money,” Politico reporter Michael Schaffer wrote in a profile last fall. He retired after 20 years on the force, which is five years before DC cops are normally eligible for retirement benefits, and his fame has complicated his attempts to find a new job, the fundraiser says: “At every job he’s applied for since January 6th, Mike’s been told that, while he is a hero, he is ‘too polarizing a figure’ for them to offer him employment.”
In addition to the financial concerns, the fundraiser says Fanone “receives death threats daily” and “is followed, heckled and stalked, accused of being a ‘crisis actor’ by those who seek to bury the truth of what radical extremists did that day.” Schaffer writes that he experienced some of that upside-down reality for Fanone when they got coffee at a Starbucks on Capitol Hill and a conspiracy theorist stalked them with a sign asking about Ray Epps, a figure of misplaced fascination for conspiracy theorists unable to come to grips with the fact, confirmed in hundreds of court cases, that people on their side attempted to overthrow an election their preferred candidate lost.
Fanone hasn’t yet replied to Washingtonian‘s requests for comment, but John Shiffman, the Reuters reporter who cowrote Fanone’s memoir, Hold the Line, tells us the effort is legit. Some names on the list of the fundraiser’s top donors match the names of prominent people who’ve promoted it on social media, including Martina Navratilova, Soleil Moon Frye, and Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen.