Matthew Townsend has been charged with a felony over a Facebook post, which authorities claim was a threat against a police officer in Meridian, Idaho.
Townsend's saga began back on February 2 when he stood outside a tax service office while dressed in a grim reaper costume and holding a sign that read, "Taxes ≠ liberty, Taxes fund terrorism," noted PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com.
Townsend was arrested by police for allegedly obstructing.
He told the blog Pro Libertate:
An officer pulled up and told me that I had to get out of the road, and that I couldn’t be blocking traffic. He tried to get me to agree with him that I was blocking traffic. And I didn’t. He asked me for my name; I gave him my name. He asked me for my ID; I told him I didn’t have it on me.
He asked me if I had been drinking and … kept trying to get me to agree with him that I was blocking traffic. He said, "Well, I saw you." I said, "Then charge me." And he was silent – just stops, silent. I turned around and hit the button [on the crosswalk signal light]. It said "Go," so I started crossing. Half-way across the intersection he starts yelling that he’s not done with me. I stopped on the next corner. He walked over there, and other officers pulled up, and I got arrested.
Townsend wrote a Facebook posting on March 18 criticizing the officer whom he claims made the arrest, Richard Brockbank.
In the Facebook post, Townsend also wrote:
If my case isn't dismissed tomorrow upon my request, I will begin a non-violent and shame campaign that will be remembered. HOA "upsets", protests in the aggressors neighborhoods (I know where you all live- this is notification of knowledge and future protests, not a threat).
Townsend then gave the state three options, one of which said, "Endure my non-violent retaliation ( do you want to be the focus of my rage?)"
However, Townsend told PhotographyIsNotaCrime.com that he later removed the "rage" part in an edit.
Two days after the Facebook posting, Townsend was arrested and charged with witness intimidation over the post, which authorities claimed was a threat.
The witness intimidation charge could put Townsend in jail for five years, while the obstructing charge might lock him up for one year.
There has not been a statement issued by the police or prosecutors yet.