On Thursday, a podcaster reported that he was “harassed” by two police officers at his home in California and accused of threatening Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. On his Twitter account, he made a claim which he calls outrageous and provably false.
He said that two plainclothes California police officers showed up at his home over a harmless tweet criticizing Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The police officers were sent on behalf of the Capitol Police to the Los Angeles home of Ryan Wentz, an anti-war activist and producer for the online viral program, Soapbox, on April 8.
AOC denies any involvement, however many are asking who initiated the phone call to the Capitol Police.
Wentz said that as he waited for food delivery at his home in Los Angeles on April 8, he heard two men calling his name from over his front gate. When he approached, he realized they were not delivery drivers, but police officers flashing badges of the California Highway Patrol.
The cops informed Wentz that they had received a call from the Capitol Police, the federal law enforcement agency tasked with protecting the US Congress, about a tweet he had sent that allegedly threatened Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Wentz told The Grayzone, “The officers said, ‘We got a warning about a sitting member of Congress. And it was because of your tweet, which tagged them in it. And then they just wouldn’t back down from this accusation that I threatened to kill her.”
The Twitter user, who goes by @queeralamode, is demanding answers from police and the congresswoman on why he was tracked down at home on Thursday. He said the experience left him “shaken up” and “feel[ing] very unsafe in my home right now.”
A spokeswoman for Ocasio-Cortez said the congresswoman did not request the investigation.
“No, we did not report him,” spokeswoman Lauren Hitt told Fox News on Friday. “We asked Capitol Police last night to look into what happened here and are awaiting additional information.”
The Twitter user, @queeralamode, does not list a name on the profile but describes himself as a co-host of two podcasts. But the user posted a letter about the incident from his purported employer, Maffick LLC, that identified him as Ryan Wentz. (Twitter has labeled Maffick as Russia state-affiliated media).
(1/X) I’m really shaken up right now. I was just visited by two plainclothes police officers from California Highway Patrol at my home. They said they came here on behalf of the Capitol Police and accused me of threatening @AOC on Twitter yesterday. This is provably false. pic.twitter.com/NGR8KViy93
— Human Rights Watch Watcher (@queeralamode) April 8, 2021
The user also tweeted an article about the encounter with police from thegrayzone.com that also identified @queeralamode as Ryan Wentz, “an anti-war activist” and producer for the online program Soapbox.
The user did not immediately respond to a Twitter message from a Fox News reporter.
In his Twitter posts, the podcaster argued that a seemingly non-controversial tweet he made about Ocasio-Cortez’s “incredibly underwhelming” response to a question on Palestine-Israel policy sparked the knock at his door from California Highway Patrol.
“I shouldn’t be harassed by police for critiquing her politics,” @queeralamode tweeted in response to the police encounter.
The California Highway Patrol told Fox News it often assists other law enforcement agencies, including the Capitol Police when requested to help out in an investigation. They directed any questions to the Capitol Police, which is in charge of security for members of Congress.
The Capitol Police confirmed to Fox News that the Ocasio-Cortez did not flag any tweets from @queeralamode as threatening and police started this investigation as part of its regular effort to monitor threats.
“USCP investigates all threats that are reported by Congressional offices. The Department also monitors open and classified sources to identify and investigate threats,” the Capitol Police said in a statement to Fox News.
“This is the standard operating procedure for the Department. As it pertains to this incident, the Congresswomen did not request that USCP initiate an investigation.”
A Capitol police official further clarified that the podcaster came on their radar not for the tweet on Ocasio-Cortez’s Israel policy or anything else that he wrote. Rather, the Californian was tagged in a tweet authored by another user that was deemed threatening.
“They were tagged in a tweet that was perceived as threatening that prompted us to look into this,” the United States Capitol Police official told Fox News.
After the incident post has been taken down from Twitter.
“Obviously as you can imagine, anytime there’s anything that could be a perceived threat, we’re going to talk to everybody involved, whether they’re directly involved or indirectly involved,” the authorities said.