Joseph Bolanos, 69, was well-respected in his community, always coming to the aid of others.
As the president of his local block association in New York City, he has always looked out for his neighbors, particularly over this past year during the pandemic doing things to raise morale. He even became a Red Cross volunteer after 9/11, and he also once saved a woman when someone tried to mug her.
On top of all that, he takes care of his elderly mother, who is 94.
But, the FBI blew up his life and almost destroyed him over the past few months. His crime? Attending President Donald Trump’s rally on Jan. 6 with a friend, even though he never went into the Capitol building. He dropped in on the rally and then went back to his hotel. He was there at his hotel, with time stamps on pictures to prove it, he says, during the breach at the Capitol. He did go back to the Capitol later, filming from the outside, but the riot was over by that point.
That didn’t stop the FBI.
They showed up–unannounced–at his mother’s home where he was staying and interviewed him for 25 minutes. He told them what he had happened, even showed them video and they left. But they didn’t leave it there.
The next Thursday at 6 a.m., he was awakened in his mother’s apartment by loud banging. “I opened the door and there’s about 10 tactical police soldiers and one is pointing a rifle at my head. [They had] a battering ram and a crowbar.”
They also had a search warrant, issued by District Judge Gabriel Gorenstein, which named Bolanos as the “target subject.” The front door of his empty apartment was being broken down in a simultaneous raid.
The warrant authorized the federal agents to seize his property as evidence relating to crimes including “obstruction of Congress,” “civil disorders,” “conspiracy to impede/assault federal agents,” “interstate travel to participate in riot,” and “unlawful entry on restricted buildings or grounds.”
The FBI ransacked both apartments, upending drawers,
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