June 30 (UPI) — Officials arrested a California man who they say threatened to kill the Federal Communications Chairman’s family over net neutrality’s repeal.
A Justice Department release identified the person arrested as Makara Man, 33, of Norwalk, Calif.
Three email threats began around Dec. 19-20, according to an affidavit obtained by the Washington Post. Man allegedly sent the emails to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, the release said.
The first email accused Pai of responsibility for a child who allegedly killed himself over the repeal of net neutrality regulations, according to the affidavit. The second email listed three locations in or around Arlington, Va., and threatened to kill his children. The third email had no writing in the body, but included a framed photograph of Pai and his family in the foreground, slightly out of focus.
The FBI initially confronted Man in May after tracing the emails to his residence in Norwalk. The FBI said Man admitted sending the emails because he was “angry” about the net neutrality decision and wanted to “scare” Pai.
In the affidavit, the FBI wrote Man elaborated that he was upset because “they [the FCC] pretty much ignored, like 80 percent of comments … they ignored ‘us,’ and just didn’t care.”
Led by Pai, the FCC voted in December to repeal the so-called net neutrality regulations, which were Obama-era policies that treated Internet service providers like a public utility. The regulations expired on June 11.
The affidavit also shows that Man gave law enforcement an apology letter to Pai that said, “I’m sorry I made a threat against your kids. That was crossing the line. I hope you’ll change your mind on [Official Action] but I doubt it.”
Man is charged with threatening to murder a member of the immediate family of a U.S. official with the intent to intimidate or interfere with him while performing his official duties, or with the intent to retaliate.
If convicted, Man could face up to 10 years in prison.