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QAnon conspiracy theorists firmly believe that pretty much everything is fake or a cover-up. The stolen election, the COVID-19 pandemic, and of course, the Capitol riot, in which QAnon followers played a central role.
In the latest effort to convince themselves that the hundreds of people who violently invaded the Capitol on Jan. 6 were not Trump supporters, QAnon believers are spreading the conspiracy theory that the four police officers who died by suicide in the months since the attack were in fact “offed” by shadowy forces intent on stopping them from blowing the whistle.
The conspiracy theory gained traction this week after it was revealed first that Metropolitan Police Department officer Gunther Hashida had died on July 29 and then, hours later, revealed that MPD officer Kyle DeFreytag had tragically taken his own life on July 10.
Earlier this year, MPD officer Jeffrey Smith and U.S. Capitol officer Howard Liebengood both killed themselves soon after January 6. All four had responded to the attack on the Capitol.
Despite the tragic losses suffered by the families of these men, QAnon supporters have been eagerly spreading baseless conspiracy theories about the deaths.
“What’s going on?” DeAnna Lorraine declared in an interview with right-wing talk show host Stew Peters this week. “Obviously, one is weird. Two is very weird. Three, anything more than three is really statistically impossible. Something very weird is happening here. And I think that we can safely assume that these are not suicides. I mean, come on, we’re not stupid. We’ve seen this time and time again.”
Lorraine is a well-known QAnon supporter and last year unsuccessfully ran for a House seat in the same district as Nancy Pelosi. Her comments stand in stark contrast to those she made on Jan. 6 when she was in Washington DC covering the event for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
“No one should be ashamed of what happened,” Lorraine said in a live video on the day. “American patriots did this. And it’s a good thing. It’s not a bad thing.”
But in the wake of the attack, and the widespread criticism of that day’s violent insurrection, Lorraine has predictably changed course and labeled the attack a hoax or a “false flag.“
“What does every major false flag event have in common?” she told Peters, who nodded along with her baseless accusations. “Suicides right after. Suicides of the survivors, of any of the police officers, and of course, the perpetrator, they always seem to commit suicide afterwards. And I’m not saying that all of these suicides were fake or Arkancided, but it’s very peculiar, and I don’t believe in coincidences after a certain number of them.”
“Arkancided” is a reference to the QAnon bogeymen Bill and Hilary Clinton, and to people supposedly being executed on their orders.
Within days of the insurrection, everyone from QAnon supporters to mainstream conservative talking heads like Tucker Carlson, have been boosting the baseless conspiracy theory that someone other than Trump supporters. far-right militias, and QAnon believers—typically Antifa or the FBI—were responsible for the attack on the Capitol.
These claims persisted in recent weeks, even after the Capitol Police officers who were on duty during the violence gave damning and highly emotional testimony to the House committee investigating the attacks. Numerous witnesses broke down while giving their testimony, for which right-wing pundits like Carlson mocked them, while QAnon believers labeled them “crisis actors.”
And Lorraine leaned heavily into that theory during her interview:
“Obviously, Nancy Pelosi and the deep state, they scripted this, this was orchestrated, and the people that they can buy and pay out to act and cry on command and tell everybody how racist this event was, what an insurrection it was, they get to live, but yet the ones that maybe have something more to share, maybe the ones that really know the full scoop of this and potentially were about to come forward with evidence that debunks this entire hoax, maybe they are the ones that were offed.”
Both Peters and Lorraine questioned why the families of the late police officers hadn’t been in the media more before Lorraine disingenuously claimed: “We are not trying to discount the tragedy of these deaths.”
Unsurprisingly, Lorraine’s unhinged and baseless theories about the police officers’ suicides have been echoed in QAnon channels on alternative social media platforms like Gab and Telegram.
Under one post about the latest reports of Capitol Police suicides in one of the most prominent QAnon channels, commenters were clear in their opinion of what had really happened.
“Suicide my ass. That’s my opinion. What did these 4 know?” one wrote. “Somebody is trying to silence them,” another said. “They all got Clintoned. Do you think it's a coincidence they all just up and couldn't take it? Something bigger is going on,” another comment read.
Sadly this is not the first time QAnon supporters have attempted to distort the suicides of police officers for their own ends.
Back in 2018, a QAnon conspiracy theory known as frazzledrip emerged claiming the existence of a video purporting to show Hilary Clinton torturing and killing a young girl before drinking her blood.
The video—which for clarity does not exist—was reportedly found by the NYPD on the laptop of Antony Weiner, the former husband of Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who was also said to appear in the video.
QAnon then claimed that a high number of suicides within the NYPD in subsequent years was linked to the officers having viewed the video and being so disturbed that they had to take their own lives.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, help is available. Call 1-800-273-8255 to speak with someone now or text START to 741741 to message with the Crisis Text Line.