According to authorities, the 25-year-old “appeared agitated” and “started yelling” at police who approached her. As they closed in, police said Romano raised the bat, possibly preparing to swing.
“When she raised the bat, the officers attempted to take it. In that moment, the woman became combative and bit one of the officers,” one Capitol Police officer said.
Charges against Olivia Romano are pending. She is in Capitol Police custody, but it’s unclear if she has a legal representative yet.
It was not immediately clear if the bitten officer was seriously injured in the scuffle.
Andrew Leyden, a former congressional staffer, said on Twitter that he had witnessed the arrest and posted pictures of Romano in police custody.
Leyden also claimed that Romano shouted the name of her Twitter account during the arrest, linking a Tweet from the account he said she mentioned.
Leyden’s allegations have not been corroborated by Capitol Police and have not been independently verified by media outlets.
Capitol Police are on Edge
The bizarre incident — which does not appear to have any clear motivation — is the second arrest by Capitol Police this month to receive national attention.
On Oct. 5, 55-year-old Dale Paul Melvin of Michigan was arrested after tense, 90-minute standoff when he refused to move his vehicle, which was illegally parked in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building.
After being pulled from his car by a Capitol Police SWAT team, Melvin was found to be unarmed, and no one was injured or threatened.
The high-profile media coverage of both the Romano and Melvin arrests come as incidents of apparently politically-motivated threats in Washington are appearing to become more common.
In August, police arrested a North Carolina man near the Capitol who claimed to have a bomb in his vehicle. The man was reportedly live-streaming himself on Facebook, talking about “revolution,” when he was apprehended by police following an hours-long standoff.
In that case, police said the man did not have an explosive when he was taken into custody, but said he had “suspected bomb-making material” in his vehicle.
In April, a Virginia man reportedly rammed his car into a Capitol Police barricade before exiting the vehicle, brandishing a knife. Authorities said they shot the man when “lunged” at them with the weapon. The attacker was killed at the scene, a Capitol Police officer died in the crash, and another officer was hospitalized with injuries, but later recovered.
The most infamous example of such politically-motivated crime came on Jan. 6, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building in an apparent attempt to disrupt the certification of electoral votes for the 2020 election, which Trump lost.
In that incident, four individuals died — one rioter was shot by police, two died of cardiovascular disease, and one more died of a drug overdose. One Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick, reportedly died of natural causes the day after the event.