NewsArizona News

Actions

Online death threats target Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Maricopa Board of Supervisors threat
Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 08, 2021

Since November, many state lawmakers, GOP leaders and conservative voters have closed in on the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors.

The Board voted unanimously to certify the county's election results in November, amid cries of fraud, after the county elections department reported President-elect Joe Biden had won a majority of Maricopa County votes.

"This is nonsense," said Steve Gallardo, District 5 Supervisor. Gallardo, the only Democrat among a Republican controlled board. "This election fraud is nonsense. There is no evidence, there is no truth to it. They know it’s bogus, but they continue to put it out.”

Much of those rumors fueled online, and on social media by leaders including GOP Chairwoman Dr. Kelli Ward, Congressman Paul Gosar, Congressman Andy Biggs, Senator Kelly Townsend and others in state and local leadership positions.

Last month, one right-winged group even submitted petitions to recall four of the five county supervisors sitting on the board.

“They’re trying to intimidate lawmakers and policymakers to do what they want and that is to try and overturn an election," added Gallardo.

Tuesday, just hours before riots broke out in Washington D.C. as Congress moved to count electoral votes from all 50 states, a comment surfaced on right-wing blog "Republican Briefs", according to the Arizona Republic.

"I think some of the supervisors and others involved in our elections have earned a good old fashioned neck tie party," wrote John Powelson. "I say we build it on the green of the Capitol Building as a reminder of what the punishment for Treason is."

"Those types of words put chills down my back," said Gallardo. "They are encouraging us to be executed, that’s what they’re saying. That’s the message.”

While many, including Gallardo, hold republican leaders responsible for rhetoric such as this, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Vice-Chairman Bill Gates condemned threats like this Friday.

“These are members of my own party," said Gates, a longtime Republican. "They are frustrated and now they are lashing out and they are suggesting that violence is the way to proceed. I disagree with that, I reject that.”

“When you start to make these threats and if people don’t speak up then we start to think that this is acceptable and it’s simply not," he added.

This is not the only threat aimed at the board.

Since November, members say they've received countless calls, emails, and voice messages. Others, posted online and on social media are also being looked into.

"These threats can become complex due to the technology components," said Sgt. Joaquin Enriquez. "MCSO takes these and all threats serious and we are investigating to determine the merit of these threats."

One threat, according to Supervisor Gallardo, was sent out on New Year's Eve via email. It encouraged a group of President Trump's supporters to gather outside the homes of each county supervisor that night.

The email included multiple known addresses for each. Gallardo says the one next to his name, was actually his mother's address.

"You’re going to go to my mom? A retired 78-year-old lady? You’re going to go to her house and intimidate her and protest in front of her house?"

Gallardo added a group did show up to protest outside Supervisor Clint Hickman's home just after Christmas.

"They’re trying to intimidate lawmakers and policymakers to do what they want and that is to try and overturn an election," said Gallardo. "I am done. It is time to hold people accountable. That includes the state party chair, that includes member of the legislature, and these conspiracy theorists who want to continue to spread these false rumors and threats. Enough is enough.”