A woman who allegedly describes herself as an “Angry Patriot Hippie” told her social media followers that if the FBI dared to show up at her door, she would exercise her second amendment right to pop a cap in their <expletive>. The incident started after the FBI confronted the woman concerning her involvement in the Capitol riots during President Biden’s confirmation.
According to the FBI, someone turned the woman in for attending the riot. The woman told the FBI that she was not at the riot and subsequently demanded proof. The FBI said that they only wanted to talk to the woman concerning her whereabouts that day. She then released a post to her followers stating that if the FBI showed up at her door, she would “exercise her second-amendment rights”. She is now facing federal charges related to the threat.
Understanding the Law
It’s okay to have bad feelings about politicians. This is American and such conduct is encouraged. It’s not okay to threaten anyone, including politicians. In other words, if the woman had made the same threat against a private citizen, she would still be in trouble with the law because she would have committed what in Florida is called “assault”. Assault is when you threaten someone with physical violence. Battery is when you actually carry out that violence. Hence why the two are so often charged together.
However, since it’s the feds who were threatened, it’s the feds who get to file the charges. In this case, the woman will face charges for issuing an interstate threat against a government official.
“Man, I’d Love to Kill That Guy”
The law makes a distinction between angry utterances and verbal threats. The purpose of a threat is to intimidate. When you say something like, “Man, I wish [politician name] would die,” you are not issuing a threat, but expressing a desire. The one is tolerated under American law while the other is a threat the purpose of which is to intimidate. In other words, the “Patriot Hippie” issued a direct threat to FBI agents if they showed up at her door with the apparent purpose of intimidating them from the attempt.
The second element of a successful prosecution of this nature is that the threat is credible. If you say something like, “I’m going to build a bomb and nuke <politician>,” the law would have to prove you have the capacity to build a nuclear bomb. In other words, it must be possible to carry out the threat. So unless you’re a nuclear physicist, you haven’t broken the law.
That doesn’t mean that law enforcement can’t press charges, it just means that they won’t win.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you’ve threatened to shoot any FBI agents who step foot on your property, then you will need a West Palm Beach criminal attorney who has experience defending clients in federal court. Call The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.