Protesters who gathered outside the Virginia home of Republican Sen. Josh Hawley Monday evening were peaceful and they left when police explained they were violating local picketing laws, police said Tuesday. The Missouri senator on Twitter accused the protesters of vandalism and threatening his family.
Officers were called to Hawley's home in Vienna, a Washington suburb, around 7:45 p.m. after someone reported that there were “people protesting in front of the house.” Officers who responded to the scene found that the “people were peaceful,” said Master Police Officer Juan Vazquez, a spokesman for the Town of Vienna Police Department.
The demonstrators said they went to Hawley's home because he said he would object when Congress convenes Wednesday to affirm Joe Biden’s election victory.
Vazquez said the protesters had been violating several laws, including a Virginia code about picketing in front of a house, a town ordinance about making noise in front of a home and a littering code. But he said the officers explained the violations and “everyone just left.”
“There were no issues, no arrests,” he said. “We didn’t think it was that big of a deal.”
Hawley accused the group of threatening his family.
“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,” Hawley wrote on Twitter. “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.”
A spokeswoman for Hawley said the senator and his family were grateful for the support of law enforcement, and said demonstrators did not leave until police showed up.
“In fact, when Erin, Josh’s wife, asked them to leave, they instead screamed threats through blow horns at Erin, a newborn baby and their neighbors, and then they followed up by stepping onto their porch to pound on the front door and peer inside the house at Erin,” Kelli Ford said.
The group, ShutdownDC, posted a nearly hour-long video that showed about a dozen protesters arriving at Hawley’s home, chanting and shouting through a megaphone, walking up to his doorstep, waving signs and writing on the sidewalk with chalk.
The video shows the group meeting in a nearby parking lot, discussing how they plan to protest and chant in front of his home and then shows them walking about two blocks to his home. Outside the home, they lit candles, chanted through megaphones and held signs that read, “Respect the votes. Trump lost!” and “You don’t have the votes!”
The activists also said they were leaving a copy of the U.S. Constitution on Hawley’s doorstep before a group of three people walk up to the stoop.
At one point in the video, police arrive at the home and one officer can be heard asking, “Can we maybe quiet down until we have a supervisor out here?” At least three officers can be seen standing on the sidewalk in front of Hawley’s home.