A retired firefighter in Chicago was an unfortunate victim of mistaken identity after users on Twitter accused him of being the suspect of throwing a fire extinguisher at police during the Capitol building riot last week.
By January 11, users on Twitter posted screenshots of the suspect and called for people to help identify the man. It resulted in users saying it was David Quintavalle with little evidence. The hunt for the suspect has reached high-priority since it was reported Capitol Police officer Brian D. Sicknick died after being hit in the head with a fire extinguisher.
This is the individual the FBI is seeking as a person of interest in connection with the murder of the Capitol Hill police officer.— Political Southpaw (@DahlELama2) January 11, 2021
Twitter, do your thing. pic.twitter.com/KUKliu9zhp
After the false claims he was involved in the riot, David Quintavalle received angry calls calling him a "fucking murderer,” TV crews staked out his house & police dispatched a patrol car to keep watch.— Kenneth P. Vogel (@kenvogel) January 14, 2021
Yet posts accusing him remain all over Twitter. https://t.co/pF7m46ylmi pic.twitter.com/pQ1OSd7xH6
Patch.com reported Quintavalle was not even in Washington, D.C. at the time of the riots. He was still in Illinois:
"Quintavalle, who shaved his beard before Christmas, told Patch that he wasn't in Washington, D.C., last week. He went grocery shopping at Aldi at 9 a.m. and made a home-cooked supper of filet mignon and lobster to celebrate his wife's birthday with their Chicago police officer son on the day rioters breached the Capitol.
"The next morning, Quintavalle made a trip to Home Depot. A self-proclaimed paperwork hoarder, Quintavalle says he has receipts to prove his whereabouts that his attorney presented with other evidence to the FBI on Wednesday to clear his name."
"The unconfirmed reports quickly spread. Soon, social media filled with details about Quintavalle's personal life, including his appearance at a 'Walk To Support CPD' rally in Mount Greenwood in August to support his namesake son, an Englewood District police officer who still lives at home."
By Tuesday night, Quintavalle began getting angry calls from people saying he's a "f------ murderer" who belongs in jail, according to Patch.
"Social media has killed David Quintavalle. This has been an absolute disaster to him personally and his family. There's a cop car outside his house. It's over a picture that kind of looks like him because people sitting behind a keyboard with no proof or evidence are throwing out these tweets, and they're wrong. Holy smokes, it's eye-opening how terrifying social media can be when something like this happens," attorney John Nisivaco told Patch, saying he has already presented evidence to the FBI and the Justice Department to prove Quintavalle was not at the riot.