For two years, Michael Fanone’s muddied D.C. police badge was kept in a zip-top bag in an FBI evidence bin. Thomas Sibick, who ripped Badge No. 3603 from Fanone’s tactical vest during the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol buried it in his backyard in Buffalo, and investigators seized it to use in the criminal case against him. Sibick is in prison and the badge is no longer needed for evidence. Fanone — who resigned 11 months after he was dragged into the mob, beaten unconscious and threatened to be killed with his own gun — said that when he asked for it back, the D.C. police department refused to give it back citing rules that officers' badges must be returned to the department.
On Friday, police said they would make an exception because of the “unique circumstances” of Fanone’s actions on Jan. 6, and would give the badge, mounted in a display case, back to him. He described the badge at the sentencing hearing for Sibick as “the emblem of my duty and what I had dedicated my life to for the past 20 years.” Fanone said the department has ostracized him for speaking out on behalf of officers who defended the Capitol and for publicly excoriating lawmakers and others who downplayed the attack. His advocacy for those who battled the mob earned him national recognition. Fanone's inquiries to D.C. police about the badge went nowhere. A department spokesperson said, “Badges of members who separate from the Department, whether they resign or retire, are recycled for future officer assignment.” Last Friday, after the Post asked about the badge, the police department's general counsel said the agency had intended to preserve Fanone’s badge and other “symbols and solemn mementos of” the Jan. 6 riot in an exhibit in the police museum. Yet officials would give Fanone “the encased badge if that is his wish,” noting that the department “recognizes the significance of Officer Fanone’s badge as exemplifying both the heroism and tragic cost to (officers) who defended democracy on January 6.”