A Norwalk man was arrested Friday on federal charges of threatening to kill the family of the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, allegedly for the official’s repeal of net neutrality rules.
Markara Man, 33, allegedly made the threats against Ajit Pai’s children because he was “angry” that the Republican-led FCC voted to repeal the Obama-era protections, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia said Man sent three emails to Pai in December.
The first accused Pai of being responsible for a child who allegedly had committed suicide because of the repeal of net neutrality regulations, while the second listed three locations in or around Arlington, Virginia, and threatened to kill the regulator’s family members. The third email had no message in its body, but included an image depicting Pai and, in the foreground and slightly out of focus, a framed photograph of the chairman and his family, according to the DOJ.
The FBI traced the emails to Man’s residence in Norwalk and when initially confronted last month, Man admitted that he sent the email threatening Pai’s family because he was “angry” about the net neutrality repeal and wanted to “scare” Pai, prosecutors allege.
The 2015 regulation that was repealed required internet providers to serve all websites at the same speed.
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 officials on account of the performance of official duties. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison when sentenced in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
The FBI’s Los Angeles field office provided assistance in the investigation, officials said.