Electronic Threats: Victim Speaks Out

Newschannel 6 is digging into a problem that is expanding with electronic communications – electronic threats. A man came to us after a threatening text message shook him up.

The man, who is afraid to be identified, is a Black man married to a White woman. Together, they have several children. The family was preparing to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a meal when the message came in.  It was a racist chain message with graphics he found offensive. The message came from a number he didn't know.

At first, he responded and let the texter know he was offended by the message. He explained his family situation and said he didn't like the content. "I just simply said its sad that people still think like this day and time," said the man. Then things took a frightening turn. The sender responded with an expletive and wrote "I will have you hung."

The man was shaken to the core. "I was actually in fear for my life. I've read about it in textbooks and things like that and seen a lot of it on TV and of all days to be told something like that," he said.

The man says he called Deputies to report the threats. "I hope they would be prosecuted… I think they really need to learn a lesson…I have a family with 2 young children at home and I don't take that lightly. It put me in the fear for my family and I will seek justice for them," he said.

As strong as the words the sender had for him were, his message to the texter is less-threatening. "I'll pray for them. I pray for their families because in this day and age they are going to get nowhere with that type of ignorance," he said.

Local Law Enforcement says there are legal steps you can take if you fall victim to electronic threats or harassment. If the threats are over text messages, misdemeanor harassment charges could be filed. If they harassment is online, the suspect could face 3rd degree felony charges.

Paul Harrop, Newschannel 6