FBI Arrests Man for Online Threat Against Indicted BART Cop
(WIRED) FBI agents have arrested a man suspected of posting online messages threatening the life of a California transit cop who was involved in a controversial shooting earlier this year.
Jeffrey Weaver, 47, of Roanoke, Virginia, is suspected of posting anonymous comments to the popularInfoWars.com site run by radio show host and free-speech advocate Alex Jones. Those comments, which were quickly deleted by moderators, threatened to kill Johannes Mehserle, a former police officer for Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), who was caught on video last January shooting a 22-year-old man in the back at point-blank range while the youth was lying on the ground.
That shooting — which occurred on the platform of an Oakland, California BART station in front of numerous train passengers — received widespread publicity and prompted violent protests and calls for Mehserle’s arrest on murder charges. Mehserle was arrested in Nevada on January 14th, where he said he went after receiving death threats.
According to an FBI affidavit (.pdf), Weaver allegedly posted on January 5 and January 7 under the name “FuckThePigs.” “Fuck the pigs and if I find out who the pig is then I will kill the pig who killed him,” one of the messages read.
After another reader posted Mehserle’s home address at InfoWars, the original poster added a second message noting Meherle’s address and saying “now that I know who he is and where he is its only a matter of time and his punishment will be to watch his bitch and his baby get wasted in front of him . . . this isn’t a threat its a fucking promise . . . because justice will be served death wish charles bronson vigilante style. . . .”
On January 10, the same user posted a third message to InfoWars implying that he might kill another police officer in Martinsville, Virginia, who had killed a 17-year-old boy with a Taser. In that message, the user claimed he owned a gun.
All I got to say is that I’m within 100 miles of where this incident happened at and reading this makes my blood boil. Maybe I should drive to Martinsville with my 9mm Glock and some teflon coated armor piercing Black Rhino hollow pointed rounds and do the world a favor by ridding the world of this piece of shit pig . . .
Mehserle’s father contacted the FBI on January 8 saying he’d found the threats against his son online. FBI agents subpoenaed Jones, who runs InfoWars, to obtain IP addresses from which the messages were posted. They matched three addresses to a Verizon account owned by Weaver.
Three years earlier Weaver, who was convicted in 1986 for selling or furnishing marijuana, had also threatened to massacre employees of Cox Communications after the company cut off his cable TV, according to the FBI. When a Cox representative came to the house Weaver shared with his mother, Weaver said he was so mad he planned to go to the Cox office with his 9mm and kill everyone. The only reason he didn’t, the affidavit says, was because his mother stopped him.
FBI agents raided Weaver’s house two weeks ago, and found a “green leafy substance” (.pdf) and “a glass smoking device,” but no gun.
According to a complaint filed by agents, Weaver admitted to them during the raid that he posted the comments to InfoWars but said he was angry when he made the statements and did not intend to harm anyone. He was arrested and is being held without bond for threatening harm to someone through interstate communication.
Jones told Threat Level that he had instructed one of his moderators to remove the threatening messages posted at InfoWars, because of their incendiary nature, a week before the FBI contacted him.
“I don’t defend the terrible things the individual posted on my site,” Jones said. “I can see where these types of incendiary things get hyped up because of the outrageous conduct of the police. But, regardless, there’s no excuse to go after peoples’ families with death threats. This isn’t a joke when you go on a big website and post threats. Then they bitch and complain when the police come to their door. The ones who really make the bad threats are the idiots who do it from their real computer.”
Jones is angry that authorities focused on his site when threats against the San Francisco cop were posted at YouTube and elsewhere. He said it was the fourth subpoena he’s received and he’s considering eliminating the comments section from his site as a result.
“That’s not me happily handing over peoples’ IP addresses,” Jones said. “This is not an enjoyable thing.”