Chad Christopher Stark, a 54-year-old Texas man, was arrested and charged with threatening harm against Georgia election officials after posting a racist rant on Craigslist.
It was the first arrest made by the Department of Justice task force created to combat the rise of threats made against election workers following the 2020 presidential election. The task force was assembled after a forced recount in Arizona found many supporters of Donald Trump unable to face the results of the election.
Many accounts of death threats from elected officials stoked fears that poll workers said they had never experienced on the job before.
According to prosecutors on Friday, Chad Christopher Stark reportedly wrote a Craigslist ad directed at Georgians, calling them to overturn the 2020 Presidential Election results. On Nov. 3, 2020, then-candidate Joe Biden defeated incumbent President Donald Trump by roughly 10,000 votes, winning the state’s 16 electoral college votes.
“Georgia Patriots it’s time for us to take back our state from these lawless treasonous traitors,” he wrote. “It’s time to invoke our Second Amendment right it’s time to put a bullet in the treasonous Chinese [Election Official A].”
In the racist rant, Chad Christopher Stark named three of Georgia’s election officials, all of whom have remained unnamed in court documents shared to the public to protect them from further threats or harm.
“One good loyal Patriot deer hunter in camo and a rifle can send a very clear message to these corrupt governors. Militia up Georgia it’s time to spill blood,” he continued. “We need to pay a visit to [Election Official C] and her family as well and put a bullet her behind the ears.”
“It’s our duty as American Patriots to put an end to the lives of these traitors and take back our country by force we can no longer wait on the corrupt law enforcement in the corrupt courts,” Stark wrote. “If we want our country back we have to exterminate these people.”
Chad Christopher Stark allegedly posted the Craigslist message on Jan. 5, 2021, just one day before the US Capitol attack. Rioters at the Capitol insurrection also supported former President Donald Trump, wishing to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential Election.
Attorney General Merrick Garland condemned threats made against election officials on Friday, following the reading of Stark’s charges, and stated that it was the duty of the American government to keep them safe and preserve the democratic process.
“There is no First Amendment right to unlawfully threaten to harm or kill someone and bitter historical experience has made clear that the time to address threats is when they occur, not after a tragedy has struck,” Garland said. “The Justice Department will continue to do all it can to hold accountable those who target public servants with violence or illegal threats of violence.”
After the 2020 Election, officials in Georgia were specifically targeted by Trump, who called Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger an “enemy of the people” for not overturning the election results. In an infamous phone call, the former President allegedly told Raffensperger to “find” the votes if a recount didn’t prove that the election was rigged.
Many election officials in Arizona were also threatened after a recount proved that Joe Biden actually defeated Donald Trump by even more votes than before.
Though previously a local official matter, threats against election officials will now pass through the FBI as a federal crime thanks to the new DOJ task force.
“The very least we can do is to commit to keeping them safe,” AG Garland told reporters at the annual US Conference of Mayors meeting. “Indeed today, we are taking law enforcement action to that end.”