Erin Hawley, the wife of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley (Mo.), has taken action against the alleged organizer of a protest outside the Hawley's Virginia home last month.
What is the background?
Demonstrators gathered outside Hawley's personal Washington, D.C.-area residence on Jan. 4 to protest the Missouri senator's planned objection to the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College victory. At the time of the protest, Hawley was in Missouri with his two sons, but his wife and newborn daughter were at the Vienna, Virginia, residence.
In response, Hawley claimed the protesters "threatened" his family — but said he would "not be intimidated by leftwing violence." Hawley claimed the demonstrators were affiliated with Antifa.
"Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can't travel. They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door. Let me be clear: My family & I will not be intimidated by leftwing violence," Hawley said.
What did Erin Hawley do?
Erin Hawley filed a criminal complaint against Patrick Young, the alleged protest organizer who is part of the self-described "anti-fascist" group ShutDownDC. The criminal complaint was filed in Fairfax County, Virginia, where the incident took place.
According to ABC News, a local magistrate found sufficient probable cause to issue Young a summons, charging him with one misdemeanor count of illegally demonstrating.
"[B]ased on a citizen, the magistrate issued a summons for a defendant for a violation of Virginia Code 18.2-419 (picketing or disrupting tranquility of home), a Class 3 misdemeanor," a police spokesperson told ABC News.
Video of the demonstration showed protesters standing just feet from the Hawley residence. According to Erin Hawley, the protesters "were screaming with bullhorns and shouting 'Come out, come out!' I was frightened."
A police officer with the Vienna Police Department later arrived on scene, informing the protesters they needed to disperse because the town prohibits demonstrations outside private residences. The protesters were also allegedly violating noise ordinances. However, the protesters allegedly continued demonstrating for 10 more minutes.
What was the response?
ShutDownDC issued a statement claiming their protest was a "candle light vigil," and accused Hawley of using his power as a U.S. senator to "harass a normal person."
"We are not aware of any summons issued related to our candle light vigil at Senator Hawley's house. Police on the scene did not believe a crime was committed. That was confirmed by the Vienna Police department in media reports days later. If a summons has been issued, it is outrageous that a rich and powerful person — a United States Senator — can go to their magistrate to get a summons to harass a normal person," the statement said, according to the Kansas City Star.
However, Hawley's office said the senator's family has been targeted with numerous threats in recent weeks, which are being investigated by law enforcement.
"Because of the attacks in the media and from the left over the past few weeks, Josh's family has been the subject of numerous threats on their lives that are being monitored by authorities," Hawley's communications director, Kelli Ford, told ABC News.