Republican Congressman John Katko was reportedly threatened with murder by a New York man if he did not support net neutrality.
Democrat & Chronicle reports that Patrick D. Angelo of Syracuse, New York, was arrested and charged with threatening a federal official after he allegedly threatened to kill U.S. Congressman John Katko, R-NY if he did not support net neutrality. The charges brought against Angelo carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that Congressman Angelo called the Washingon D.C. office of Katko on October 17th leaving a voicemail in which he threatened to kill Katko and his family if the Congressman did not support net neutrality, a hot-button topic at the moment as the FCC prepares to vote on a proposal from chairman Ajit Pai to repeal net neutrality.
According to authorities, the message left for Katko stated, “Listen Mr. Katko, if you support net neutrality, I will support you. But if you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill … you … all. Do you understand?” The message continued, ” ‘I will literally find all … of … you and your progeny and t- (sic) just wipe you from the face of the Earth. Net neutrality is more important than the defense of the United States. Net neutrality is more important than free speech. Net neutrality is more important than health care. Net neutrality is literally the basis of the new society. That even if you don’t understand, how important it is, net neutrality is literally the basis of the new … free … society. So if you don’t support it, I am willing to lay down my li-” The recording was then cut off.
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. commented on the issue saying, “While citizens are certainly entitled to communicate their views on issues of importance to them to their elected officials, there are and must be bounds to the manner in which such views may be expressed,” he continued, “We will respond aggressively to those who overstep those bounds and seek to influence the making of federal policies and legislation by making threats to the lives of those entrusted with such tasks and their families.”
FCC Chairman Aji Pai commented on the threats made against Katko saying, “Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against a Syracuse man for allegedly threatening to kill Congressman John Katko and his family if he did not support net neutrality. Specifically, federal prosecutors allege that the man left a voicemail at Congressman Katko’s office saying, among other things: ‘[I]f you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill . . . you . . . all. Do you understand? I will literally find all . . . of . . . you and your progeny and just wipe you from the face of the earth.’”
Pai continued, “I condemn in the strongest possible terms any attempts to intimidate government officials with violent threats, and in particular, efforts to target their families. I would also like to express my sympathy to Congressman Katko and his family and thank law enforcement officials for taking this matter seriously.”
Authorities stated that security surrounding Katko and his family has been increased since the threats were made.