A Chicago resident has been arrested and charged after he allegedly threatened Illinois Republican gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, promising to skin him alive and then feed his family to him.
Scott Lennox, 21, made the threats on Friday after an ad for Bailey ran on a television in a bar where he was having a drink with some friends, prosecutors said according to the Chicago Sun Times. Lennox reportedly became angry after the ad played, sparking an altercation with his friends — after which he called Bailey’s office in Springfield, IL, to complain further.
Prosecutors revealed some of what Lennox allegedly said in the voicemail:
“I’m going to skin Darren Bailey alive, making sure he is still alive, and I’m going to feed his f***ing family to him as he is alive and screaming in f***ing pain … He is a piece of white a** racist s***, and honestly if he doesn’t kill himself, I will.
You know what? I know where he lives. I know where he sleeps. I know where his kids sleep. And I know the f***ing school he works at … the candidate teaching all this mother f***ing misinformation is going to die. So honestly he should just kill himself before anything else happens.
So f*** him for being a piece of s*** … So you know what? I am going to take anything and everything possible. You know what? I am going to make him scream. I am going to make him scream and suffer. Yeah, that’s right. So he better kill himself, and if he doesn’t, I am going to kill him.”
Prosecutors said Lennox also mentioned abortion in the voicemail, although they were not clear about context. They also said that Lennox admitted to not liking Bailey’s opponent — incumbent Democrat Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker — very much either, but said that he hated Bailey more.
A Chicago police report said that Lennox left the voicemail just before 10:30 p.m. local time on Friday, October 28th, the Chicago Sun Times reported. The Illinois Secretary of State Police did not initially take action, dismissing the threat as “not credible,” but further investigation led them to reverse course.
The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office charged Lennox with one felony count each of threatening a public official, telephone harassment or harassment by electronic communications, and the schools associated with Bailey’s family were placed on soft lockdown. Bail was set at $75,000 for Lennox, who has not yet posted.
Cook County Circuit Court Judge Susana Ortiz also barred Lennox from any further contact with Bailey or any members of his family or staff, ordering him to be electronically monitored as well.
“This went above and beyond anything that is acceptable, even in the realms of political discourse. It simply will not be tolerated,” Ortiz said.
Further interviews with Lennox — conducted by police — indicated that the man was not only willing to admit what he had done, but that he was proud of it.
In a series of Snapchat messages that he turned over to law enforcement, Lennox boasted that he was essentially a “political terrorist” — and congratulated himself for forcing Bailey and his family into lockdown: “I feel so f***ing accomplished.”
Following the initial threat, Bailey raised questions regarding the Secretary of State Police and their initial decision not to pursue the threat as “credible,” saying, “Divisive, inflammatory, and misleading rhetoric is driving hatred across our state as some attempt to label political opponents as dangerous threats.”
Pritzker pushed back, accusing Bailey of attempting to politicize the threat.