“But if you don’t support net neutrality, I will find you and your family and I will kill … you … all. Do you understand?”
Patrick D. Angelo is super serious about net neutrality. So serious, he was arrested and charged with “interstate communication of a threat and threatening a federal official,” reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
Angelo left a threatening voicemail for Congressman John Katko’s, threatening to kill him and his family if Katko refused to support net neutrality.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Angelo allegedly called the Washington, D.C., office of Congressman John Katko, R-Camillus, on Oct. 17 and left a threatening voicemail that included a death threat to Katko and his family if the congressman didn’t support net neutrality.
Katko represents New York’s 24th District, which includes all of Wayne County.
Angelo made an initial appearance Wednesday afternoon in U.S. District Court. He is being held pending a detention hearing Friday.
Authorities alleged the message said, “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 allegedly 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-‘ (recording ends).”
Net neutrality is the idea that everyone with an internet connection should have equal access to video, music, email, photos, social networks, maps and other content, with some exceptions that allow internet service providers to block spam and child pornography.
Katko’s office reported the message to the United States Capitol Police Threat Assessment Section. The threat assessment team started a joint investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The message was traced back to Angelo’s telephone number, authorities said.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has also been the target of harassment over plans to dismantle the Obama era policy of net neutrality. Pai reached out to Rep. Katko after the incident:
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said earlier this week that his own family has become the target of harassment over his proposal to dismantle net neutrality rules for internet providers set during the Obama administration.
On Thursday, Pai reached out to Katko, R-Camillus, and his family.
“I condemn in the strongest possible terms any attempts to intimidate government officials with violent threats, and in particular, efforts to target their families,” Pai said in a statement.
“I would also like to express my sympathy to Congressman Katko and his family and thank law enforcement officials for taking this matter seriously,” Pai said.
Protesters targeting Pai have left signs in front of his home in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, including one that said, “They will come to know the truth. Dad murdered Democracy in cold blood.”
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