Mad at net neutrality repeal, California man charged with sending death threats to Ajit Pai

A man who allegedly made death threats against FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was arrested Friday, according to the Justice Department.

Apparently angered by the FCC’s decision to end net neutrality, 33-year-old Makara Man of Norwalk, California, allegedly sent emails to Pai’s email account in December 2017.

In his emails, Man allegedly said Pai was responsible for the suicide of a child because of the net neutrality repeal and threatened to kill Pai’s family members, listing three locations around Arlington, Virginia. In another email, Man allegedly sent another message that, according to the Justice Department, “had no message in its body, but included an image depicting Chairman Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of Chairman Pai and his family.”

The FBI confronted Man in May, and Man allegedly confessed to sending the email that threatened Pai’s family. The U.S. Attorney’s office said Man claimed he was “angry” about net neutrality and that he sent the email to “scare” Pai.

According to the Justice Department, “Man is charged with a threatening to murder a member of the immediate family of a U.S. official with the intent to intimidate or interfere with such official while engaged in the performance of official duties, or with the intent to retaliate against such official on account of the performance of official duties.”

If convicted, Man could face up to 10 years in prison, though the Justice Department pointed out in its press release that sentences for federal crimes are usually less than the maximum sentences.

Net neutrality—which basically made sure all internet traffic was treated equally—was officially repealed earlier this month, but as the Daily Dot’s Andrew Wyrich wrote, “There might be a lot of doom-and-gloom among portions of the internet, there is still long road ahead in the fight to save net neutrality.”

H/T Tech Crunch

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz

Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.