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Capitol Police arrest man with knives, smoke grenade who was impersonating officer

U.S. Capitol Police this week arrested a 37-year-old man near the National Gallery of Art who was allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer and carrying knives and other equipment. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images/TNS)

U.S. Capitol Police arrested a cop impersonator armed with “a stash of knives” and other equipment on Monday.

Max Eli Viner, 37, was caught near National Gallery of Art around 6:20 p.m. The USCP received a tip from the Secret Service after the suspect was spotted minutes earlier about a half mile from the White House.

It’s unclear why the Secret Service originally wanted to question Viner.

“USCP officers searched the suspect and found multiple knives on him as well as a chain saw blade,” the department said.

The Secret Service arrived and searched Viner’s Ford Explorer, where they found fake police equipment, shell casings, a smoke grenade and a gas mask.

“This is another example of how our teams work closely with our partner law enforcement agencies to keep everyone safe. These partnerships are critical,” said U.S. Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger. “We thank the U.S. Secret Service for their detailed and timely information and we thank our officers who continue to show their dedication to our critical mission every day.”

Viner was arrested by the Secret Service and charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and possession of a prohibited weapon within the District of Columbia.

In January 2021, USCP arrested a female suspect at a presidential inauguration checkpoint for impersonating an officer. In June 2022, Jerome Felipe, a retired NYPD officer was arrested outside the U.S. Capitol with a fake “Department of the INTERPOL” badge, a BB gun, body armor, high capacity magazines and other ammunition.

At the time, the NYPD confirmed it was cooperating with the USCP in its investigation and Felipe was released on his own recognizance and his ammunition and other materials were confiscated.

On Monday, Julian Khater was sentenced to six years and eight months for attacking Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Sicknick, 42, died of natural causes a day later.


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