BERRYVILLE — A local political organizer has filed a report with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office saying she received a threatening email early Monday morning.
Lisa Holliday organizes for Indivisible Winchester Virginia (IWV), a chapter of a national movement dedicated to opposing the agenda of Republican President Donald Trump and his administration. The group is made up of Republicans, Democrats and independents.
Holliday, who lives near Boyce, contacted the Sheriff’s Office on Monday about an anonymous email she said she received that calls Indivisible Winchester Virginia “inappropriate, unjustified and un-American.”
The email further states, “My group of moderate Republicans is putting you on notice that we will not stand for this type of movement in the Winchester/Frederick County Community.”
The message was sent at about 4:20 a.m. from the address firstname.lastname@example.org using the name Gertrude Scotch. The “n” at the end of “opposition” is missing from the email address.
Making heavy use of bold text, capitalization and strings of exclamation points, the email claims that action against the “left-wing radicals” is potentially forthcoming.
“Our group, which we don’t seek to make public, will deal very privately with any radicals who publicly seek to delegitimize, denigrate, malign, defame, slander, smear, or vilify our President,” the email states. “Our message to anyone who seeks to discredit the impeccable reputation and the unwavering efforts of President Trump will be met with the consequences deemed appropriate by our membership. ... You and others like you are only poking a hornet’s nest and believe me aggravation will only be tolerated so long before you are stung.
“This is all the notice you will receive. You should take everything I said to heart because if you elect to ignore what I have said there will be a price to pay which I’m quite sure you will regret.”
The email tells Holliday not to reply.
“Don’t bother replying because I have no desire to hear anymore of your blathering chin music. The email address I am sending this from will be deleted to prevent you from replying so don’t waste your time.”
The email also includes a series of insults regarding the “thousands of fat women” who participated in various women’s marches around the country on Jan. 21. Various news sources have estimated that between 2 million and 3.5 million people demonstrated on that date in support of women’s rights and in opposition to Trump around the United States. In Winchester, about 1,300 people gathered downtown.
“Notwithstanding the health benefits of getting these women to march, the event I suspect created millions of dollars in profits for those vendors selling materials to create signage and those selling food and drink,” the email states. “You and your group of left wing radicals should recognize from this successful event that our President is brilliant based on all the benefits this march led to. Women’s health and business profits[!]”
Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper confirmed Monday that a report had been made regarding the email and was under investigation by his office.
“It’s illegal to make threats,” Roper said.
The person who sent the email may have committed a crime in doing so, he said. In order for prosecution to occur, the county commonwealth’s attorney would have to decide to bring charges based on the results of the police investigation.
Roper declined to comment further.
According to the Code of Virginia, issuing a threat of death or bodily harm is a Class 6 felony, which carries with it a penalty of one to five years in prison. Steeper penalties exist for threats of terrorism.
The email does not threaten any specific action.
Holliday said she considers the email a threat of violence, but won’t be deterred from organizing.
“... [O]ne of the many things that makes America great already is our right as individuals to make our views known,” she said in a Monday email. “That is what the system is designed for, and we [at IWV] peacefully, but without apology, let our views be known to our elected officials.”
She wrote that the group is taking the email “very seriously, and law enforcement and attorneys are involved. ... We are bringing our collective resources together to identify, and expose the person or persons who sent this letter.”
She said she may be in contact with the Frederick County Sheriff’s office to ask that a deputy be sent to the next Indivisible Winchester Virginia meeting.
Indivisible Winchester Virginia held its first meeting Feb. 1. About 100 people attended.
The group’s plan is to continue meeting every two weeks.
Indivisible Winchester Virginia has a group page on Facebook, www.facebook.com/groups/IndivisibleWinchesterGroupPage.
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