Texas Man Who Threatened to Kill Chabad Rabbis Faces Federal Charges
Federal charges have been filed against an Amarillo, Texas man for threatening to murder three Chabad rabbis, the Justice Department announced.
Christopher Stephen Brown, 37, was arrested last Wednesday along with his girlfriend, Rebekah Jones, 28, who threatened federal agents with a pistol during the arrest.
Brown has now been charged with making threats via interstate communications.
The complaint states that Brown contacted Chabad Lubavitch on Dec. 2 and threatened to murder members of its Beit Din. The message also expressed genocidal sentiments toward all Jews.
The message contained a link to Brown’s YouTube channel in which he refers to himself as “Madrikh Obidiah.” In the video, Brown made death threats against Chabad’s chairman, vice-chairman, and the son of another Chabad leader.
On Dec. 4, Brown contacted Chabad headquarters in New York via telephone and left two messages threatening to “tear out” the rabbis’ eyes and tongues, as well as to kill any rabbi he could find. On Dec. 5, he called again and threatened to shoot his targets.
Brown was tracked down and arrested on Dec. 8. Both he and Jones resisted arrest. Although she threatened the officers with a firearm, Jones was subdued without injuries, as was Brown.
Brown could receive five years in federal prison. Jones, who has been charged with assaulting a federal officer with a deadly weapon, could serve 20 years.
US Attorney Chad Meacham said, “Mr. Brown’s antisemitic statements were both disgusting and unlawful. The First Amendment may guarantee the right to make hateful remarks, but it does not allow for specific threats of violence against individuals.”
“The circumstances of the defendant’s arrest only reinforce our belief that Mr. Brown poses a serious threat to the community,” he said. “We are committed to protecting all of our citizens — especially those who are often persecuted.”
FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno added, “Threatening statements are a serious criminal activity with consequences, and the FBI and our law enforcement partners will pursue those who pose a threat to the community when those threats intend to instill fear and potentially cause physical harm.”