Is U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., getting criminally charged?
"Maxine Waters Is Getting Criminally Charged!," read a headline on ConservativePost.com. Like the claim that a Trump supporter had tried to murder Waters, this headline is false.
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"Laura Loomer, a conservative investigative journalist, is charging ‘Auntie’ Maxine for assault, citing Waters hit her hand and swatted her face with office papers," the article reads.
The blog post cites a tweet by Loomer that reads: "BREAKING: Today I filed a police report w/ @CapitolPolice against @RepMaxineWaters. Yesterday when I confronted her on Capitol Hill, she ASSAULTED me. She hit my hand, then she swatted me in the face twice w/ her papers. I’m pressing charges against her."
A video Loomer posted of the incident shows Loomer chasing after Waters in the halls of Congress. Waters responds each question by saying a variation of, "Come to my office, I’ll be happy to sit down with you. We can’t talk on the run."
When Loomer does not desist, Waters holds a piece of paper over her face and waves Loomer’s recording device away. Waters eventually walks into a members-only elevator on her way to a vote.
Filing a police report does not equate having criminal charges brought against Waters. A criminal charge can only be made by a government authority, which Loomer is not.
"A police report could trigger a criminal charge if a prosecutor brought the charges to a grand jury and they chose to pursue it," Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University, told us. "But the mere filing of a complaint by an individual who feels aggrieved does not constitute a criminal charge."
Bloggers said Waters is getting criminally charged. But that’s a misreading of what happened, and how the U.S. criminal justice system works. We rate this statement False.