Court Battles

Virginia man charged in Jan. 6 attack on DC police officer Fanone

A Virginia man was arrested earlier this week and charged in connection with the assault of former Washington, D.C., police officer Michael Fanone during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. 

Lewis Wayne Snoots, 59, of Louisa, Va., is facing felony charges of assaulting, resisting or impeding certain officers and civil disorder, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

According to court documents, surveillance footage from the Jan. 6 riot show Snoots entering a doorway leading into the U.S. Capitol wearing what looks like a gas mask. He was seen with a group of rioters attempting to breach the police line in the tunnel, the DOJ said. 

Snoots is observed in the footage pressing against a Capitol police officer’s riot shield and later passing Capitol police riot shields over his head to the mob of rioters, according to the DOJ.

The DOJ said Albuquerque Head, a defendant already convicted in the assault, then dragged Fanone away from the tunnel while Snoots continued to grab Fanone by the upper back. 

“Snoots used both of his hands to physically restrain Officer Fanone while other rioters assaulted him,” a statement from DOJ said.

Prosecutors said Snoots appeared to grab Fanone’s right hand and pulled his right arm away from his body, “which appeared to significantly hinder and impair Office Fanone’s ability to defend himself against the continuous assaults.”

Snoots could be heard on video saying, “I’m fed up with it, everybody is fed up with it. They have tear gassed our ass off of the Capitol steps, but it’s not over. What they don’t understand is it’s just starting. Every political a—— up in that place is now going to have a target on their back everywhere they go,” according to the DOJ. 

Snoots also faces a slew of misdemeanor charges, including knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building or grounds, and acts of physical violence in the Capitol grounds. 

Months after the Jan. 6 riot, Fanone testified before the House Jan. 6 committee and railed against former President Trump and other elected officials who he claimed downplayed the riot’s severity. 

Fanone has been vocal on the personal impact of the riot, writing in a CNN op-ed last year, “The assault irrevocably changed my life.” 

Fanone said he suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury that ultimately required him to resign from the police force. He said he was also later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Snoots is one of multiple defendants to be charged in Fanone’s assault, including Head, who received 7.5 years in prison after pleading guilty. 

In July, 37-year-old Thomas Sibick was sentenced to just over four years in prison after he assaulted Fanone and stole his badge and radio. 

Another man, Daniel Rodriguez, was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison for assaulting Fanone with a taser. 

Kyle Young, 38, also pleaded guilty to assaulting Fanone and received 86 months in prison. 

In the months since the Jan. 6 riot, more than 1,106 individuals have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the Capitol breach. 

The Hill reached out to the DOJ for further comment. 

Tags Capitol riot Department of Justice Jan. 6 Capitol riot Jan. 6 riot Michael Fanone Thomas Sibick