A California man faces federal charges for allegedly making threats to kill Boston Globe news employees after calling them an “enemy of the people.”
The reported threats came after the newspaper launched a national campaign to support the free press and the First Amendment, the Boston Globe revealed.
Robert Darrell Chain, 68, of Encino, California, was arrested at his home without incident Thursday by an FBI SWAT team. He faces a charge of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce. Chain is scheduled to appear in a Los Angeles court Thursday. He will eventually be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Boston at a later date, according to the report.
The Globe called for newspapers across the country to write editorials that oppose President Donald Trump’s description of certain mainstream news outlets as an “enemy of the people.”
That prompted Chain to allegedly make threatening phone calls.
“In the calls, Chain referred to the Globe as ‘the enemy of the people’ and threatened to kill newspaper employees,’’ prosecutors wrote in a statement. “In total, it is alleged that Chain made approximately 14 threatening phone calls to the Globe between August 10 and August 22, 2018.”
When the Globe published its editorial and opinion pieces on Aug. 16, Chain allegedly threatened to shoot Globe employees in the head at 4 p.m., according to the report.
In response to the threats, Boston police stationed officers at 1 Exchange Place, a downtown office building that houses the Globe’s offices.
Chain faces a maximum sentence of up to five years and a fine of $250,000, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office, reportedly stated.
“Anyone — regardless of political affiliation — who puts others in fear for their lives will be prosecuted by this office,’’ Lelling said in a statement. “In a time of increasing political polarization, and amid the increasing incidence of mass shootings, members of the public must police their own political rhetoric. Or we will.”
What did the FBI say?
The head of the Boston FBI office, special agent in charge Harold Shaw, said the response to Chain’s alleged actions should viewed as a warning.
“Everyone has a right to express their opinion, but threatening to kill people, takes it over the line and will not be tolerated,” he said in a statement.
“Making threats is not a prank, it’s a federal crime,” Shaw added. “All threats are taken seriously, as we never know if the subject behind the threat intends to follow through with their actions. Whether potentially [a] hoax or not, each and every threat will be aggressively run to ground.”