A man from Long Island, New York, was arrested Wednesday after allegedly threatening a Republican lawmaker who voted for the Biden administration’s infrastructure package.
Kenneth Gasper, 64, was arrested after a telephone death threat against Deputy Andrew Garbarino (RN.Y.), Nassau County police said in a statement.
Gasper “was extremely upset about an infrastructure bill” and vowed, “If I see that mother (for example) on the street, I’ll kill him,” according to the criminal complaint against him.
The call, made Monday, came just days after Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) Tweeted that Garbarino and 12 other Republicans were “traitors” to vote for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The tweet also included the phone numbers for those GOP lawmakers.
“It’s amazing that people want to kill me for paving roads and clean water,” Garbarino told BuzzFeed News.
He also stressed the importance of the issue, and said “misinformation” spread by his House colleagues and conservative experts put lawmakers at risk.
“There are members of Congress who collect funds from their misinformation and attack us, and it makes us receive death threats,” he told The New York Post.
Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said in a press conference on Friday that his department has “zero tolerance for this type of behavior for any of our residents,” referring to the death threat, The Long Island Press reported.
“In the world we live in today, the climate that is out there, these threats we take very seriously,” he added.
Gasper was charged with second-degree aggravated harassment and was charged Thursday. He pleaded not guilty, was released on his own recognition, and was ordered to stay away from Garbarino and the assistant who answered his phone.
His attorney, John Rey, denied that Gasper made the threat.
“Ken is an ordinary American who was offended when politician Garbarino suddenly became a Democrat and voted, in Ken’s opinion, to ruin our country,” Ray said, according to a local ABC News affiliate.
Gasper will return to court later this month.
Several other GOP lawmakers have reported receiving hate calls and death threats since voting on the infrastructure bill.
The head of the U.S. Capitol Police, J. Thomas Manger, told The Associated Press in September that his section saw thousands more threats against lawmakers than just a few years ago. He predicted that authorities would respond to nearly 9,000 threats against congressmen this year.