A California man who told investigators he was upset about the repeal of net neutrality rules was arrested Friday and is accused of threatening to kill Federal Communication Commission Chariman Ajit Pai’s family, authorities said.
Markara Man, 33, of Norwalk told investigators that he sent three emails to Pai in December 2017 because he was angry over Pai’s role in repealing the regulations and wanted to scare the chairman.
“I will find your children and I will kill them,” Man wrote in one of the emails, according to court documents.
The same email listed the names and addresses of several preschools in Arlington, Virginia, though the chairman’s children did not attend any of them, officials said.
In another message, Man accused Pai of being responsible for a child’s suicide, and a third email included a photograph of the chairman and a framed photo with his family, authorities said.
When federal agents traced the emails back to Man and questioned him in May, he acknowledged sending them and provided law enforcement officers with a written apology that he sent to Pai, court papers said.
“I’m sorry I made a threat against your kids. That was crossing the line,” he wrote in his message.
Man was charged in federal court in Virginia with threatening to murder a US official’s immediate family member with the intent to intimidate or interfere with the official’s duties. He could face up to 10 years in prison, if convicted.
A telephone number listed for Man in public records rang unanswered Friday. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegations.
The FCC voted last year to repeal the Obama-era net neutrality rules that said all web traffic must be treated equally, It gave internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T a free hand to slow or block websites and apps as they see fit or charge more for faster speeds.
The big telecommunications companies had lobbied hard to overturn the rules, contending they are heavy-handed and discourage investment in broadband networks.