Stand up for the facts!
Misinformation isn't going away just because it's a new year. Support trusted, factual information with a tax deductible contribution to PolitiFact.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who recently testified in Congress about the Jan. 6 riot, is not the same person as Kevin Seefried of Delaware, the defendant who was seen carrying a Confederate flag through the U.S. Capitol on that day.
Social media posts claiming that the two men are the same show photographs of two different people.
As he defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone was beaten and tased, he testified before a House select committee.
Fanone, 40, described being dragged into the crowd, stripped of his badge, and threatened with chants to "kill him with his own gun." He said he fell unconscious, suffered a heart attack, and was later diagnosed with a concussion, a brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Now, some social media users are falsely claiming that Fanone played a much different role during the insurrection — not as an officer guarding the Capitol, but as a rioter who stormed it.
Their posts on various platforms were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
"It’s the same b----," the text over the photographs says. "Yo Michael, we see you."
Screenshots of social media posts falsely claiming Michael Fanone is the same person as a Capitol defendant.
But the two men in the photographs are not the same person, and one wasn’t pretending to be the other.
One photograph in the posts shows Fanone, the D.C. police officer, during his July 27 testimony before Congress. The other shows Kevin Seefried of Delaware, who was indicted on five charges after entering the Capitol with his son, Hunter Seefried, who was also indicted.
"That is not Officer Fanone," said Sean Hickman, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., when asked about the second photograph showing Seefried.
Further proof that they are not the same includes their actions and outfits on Jan. 6.
Fanone was dragged into the crowd by rioters on the Capitol grounds that afternoon, the video footage from his body camera shows. The House select committee investigating the insurrection played the footage during his testimony, as Fanone talked about it. Fanone described to lawmakers his whereabouts throughout the day. He said he arrived at the Capitol around 3 p.m.
But around the same time on Jan. 6, Seefried was inside the Capitol. According to court filings, Seefried confirmed in a voluntary interview with the FBI that he had entered the Senate building through a broken window at approximately 2:13 p.m., and that he had brought a Confederate flag to Washington from his home in Delaware, where he usually displays it outside.
And while the photograph of Seefried in the social media posts shows him wearing a sweatshirt and a coat, Fanone was in "full uniform" at the Capitol, he testified. Court documents in the case against another man who allegedly assaulted Fanone confirm that he was dressed that way.
We rate the posts Pants on Fire!
U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, "Kevin Seefried," accessed July 29, 2021
PBS Newshour on YouTube, "WATCH: Officer Michael Fanone testifies on what happened in the Jan. 6 attack," July 27, 2021
NBC News on YouTube, 'Officer Fanone Walks Through His Bodycam Footage From Capitol Riot," July 27, 2021
The Daily Beast, "D.C. Cop Refutes Newsmax Host’s Bizarre Claim He Was Mistaken for Antifa at Capitol Riot," July 27, 2021
Email correspondence with Sean Hickman, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department, July 29, 2021
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.