On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced the arrest of a man who threatened to kill a congressman and his family if he didn't support net neutrality.
Patrick D. Angelo, 28, of Syracuse, New York, was charged with interstate communication of a threat and threatening a federal official; he could serve a maximum of 10 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
The U.S. Attorney's Office stated that Angelo allegedly called Congressman John Katko’s office on October 17 and left a voicemail with a death threat to Katko and his family if Katko didn't support net neutrality. The message allegedly 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? 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-
Katko represents New York's 24th District, which includes all of Wayne County.
Katko's office reported the message to the United States Capitol Police Threat Assessment Section, which joined the FBI to investigate. New York Upstate reported:
FBI agents found a family member of Angelo's and arranged a meeting with him Nov. 1 at a McDonald's in Syracuse, agents wrote in the complaint. Angelo would only meet them at a “public location,” agents wrote. He called agents with the same phone number used to make the threat, agents said. Angelo initially denied making the phone call but then told the agents that he was passionate about "net neutrality."
U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. stated, “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. 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.”
The Democrat and Chronicle reported, “Authorities said security surrounding Katko and his family has been increased. And since Katko previously served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of New York, that office was recused and prosecution was moved to the Western District of New York.”