A Florida man was sentenced to federal prison on July 20 after he sent death threats to members of a conservative Christian organization via Facebook messenger.
Chase Davis, 21, of Pompano Beach sent two threatening messages to the American Family Association based in Tupelo, Mississippi, on May 22, 2019.
"I am coming to Tupelo unexpected with a group of people and we are going to kill every single person who runs your group," the first message read.
"You are the most disgusting people in America. I have put together a group to have you pieces of [expletive] obliterated into dust. Yes, I literally mean killing all of you. You people are nothing but disgusting, warn [sic] out, and old excuses of human life."
AFA said it alerted Facebook of the threats, but was told the "threat was not a policy violation" — a stark contrast to the tech giant's "community standards" that promise to protect users from "hate speech, credible threats, or direct attacks on an individual or a group."
AFA also immediately reported the incident to the United States Attorney's Office, resulting in an FBI investigation that same summer.
U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell sentenced Davis to six months in prison, to serve 400 hours of community service, and to pay $1,440 in restitution to AFA. Davis is also required to serve a three-year term of supervised release.
U.S. Attorney William Lamar lauded Judge Chappell's ruling.
"It is important to protect free speech, but when it crosses the line and becomes threats to harm others on the basis of race, religious beliefs, political affiliations, or other protected reasons, we will use federal laws to hold those individuals accountable for their actions," Lamar said.