L.A.-based U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a longtime target of the far right and white AM radio hosts, was threatened with death by a San Pedro man whose remarks were captured on tape, according to documents provided by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.
On Oct. 22, suspect Anthony Scott Lloyd, 44, called the congresswoman's Washington, D.C., office and left a voicemail, according to an FBI affidavit in the case. "If you continue to threaten the president ... you're going to wind up dead," the suspect is alleged to have said.
A federal grand jury indicted Lloyd for allegedly threatening a United States official, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Monday. He was arrested Nov. 9 after federal prosecutors filed a complaint alleging that the South Bay man intended to "impede, intimidate and interfere with the congresswoman while she was engaged in the performance of official duties."
The phone call was transcribed in the FBI's affidavit. "This message is directed to Maxine Waters herself," the caller allegedly says.
"We'll kill you," the transcript reads. "You can call the FBI, you can call the NSA, you can call whoever the fuck you want and report this and try to get a surge or some kind of fucking phone number. Bitch, if you do it again, you're dead. You're a fucking dead ass n——."
Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable president Earl Ofari Hutchinson said via email that he was pleased with the federal response to the alleged threat. But he also suggested that contemporary politics have created a hostile environment for marginalized people in the United States.
"The indictment sends the strong message that racial hate crimes are taken seriously and will be prosecuted," he said. "This action is now more important than ever given the recent L.A. County Commission on Human Relations report that white nationalist and hate crimes are again on the rise against African-Americans, Hispanics and Muslims. This is a tense and dangerous climate in which some individuals can commit acts of violence against people of color and those of different sexual and religious persuasions."
The FBI agent who investigated the alleged threat against Waters states in the affidavit that the phone number used was linked to the suspect, who was living with his grandmother in San Pedro at the time. The number used to phone the congresswoman's office was traced to the grandmother, federal investigators said. The agent interviewed Lloyd and found out the suspect intended to travel to Las Vegas to "kill" someone unrelated to the Waters case because that person had threatened him via YouTube.
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Asked if he left the voicemail message for Waters, the suspect allegedly told the agent, "Yeah, but there's nothing to it." He said he believed the congresswoman had been making "veiled" remarks against Trump, according to the affidavit.
The suspect said he was listening to "talk radio" in his parked car when he decided to phone Waters' office, according to the FBI agent. Lloyd explained himself during the FBI interview, allegedly reiterating, "Bitch if you make a move on my president you're [sic] ass is in trouble."
Lloyd told the FBI agent who interviewed him that he did not intend to harm Waters, according to the affidavit. We reached out to her office but did not receive a response.
The suspect is free based on $20,000 bond, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. If prosecutors are successful, he could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. He was scheduled to be in court Dec. 7.