Federal prosecutors charged a Frederick man with making threatening statements against Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, the Democratic candidates for president and vice president.
James Dale Reed, 42, was charged Wednesday in a criminal complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Maryland. Secret Service agents had previously interviewed him at his Frederick home.
The U.S. Secret Service and Frederick police launched an investigation after a note was left in the mailbox of a Frederick home earlier this month that had a Biden-Harris sign in the yard. The Frederick News-Post previously reported the letter appeared to be randomly placed there.
“We take these types of threats extremely seriously,” U.S. Attorney Robert Hur said in a statement. “Such threats to commit violence are illegal and have no place in our democracy, and we will hold accountable those who make them. We are grateful for the assistance of the City of Frederick Police Department and to citizens who provided tips that ultimately led to Mr. Reed’s arrest and these federal charges.”
Frederick Police Lt. Kirk Henneberry said Wednesday that Reed has been held at the county jail without bail since Monday. Court records show Reed was also charged with the threat of mass violence, a misdemeanor charge, along with electoral operation offenses, another misdemeanor. He was arrested by police Friday, the records show.
Melissa Rothstein, director of policy and development a the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, said in an email her office was representing Reed. Rothstein declined further comment on the case.
The letter, which was allegedly left by Reed, says those who support Biden and Harris will be “targeted” and that he has a list of homes and addresses with those candidates’ signs.
“We are the ones with those scary guns, we are the ones your children have nightmares about, the boogeymen coming in the night,” the letter reads in part. It also included death threats toward both Biden and Harris, among others.
Reed faces up to five year in prison if convicted in federal court. Henneberry said he couldn’t immediately recall another investigation like this one, and also thanked the community for their help.
The perpetrator was captured by a doorbell camera, according to the U.S. District Court complaint and prior News-Post reporting.
“It’s a good example of putting out an image, asking for the public’s help, and that working out,” Henneberry said.