Florida Democrat arrested for allegedly threatening to ‘shoot’ Republican lawmakers
Karen Jones, 55, of Palm Beach County in Florida is in hot water for allegedly posting death threats on Twitter last Thursday. She threatened to “shoot” Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott for “looting her state.” Jones was arrested at her home in Lantana on Saturday for threatening the Republican lawmakers.
Her tweet read, “DeSantis, Rick Scott and Marco Rubio are looting my state. Imma shoot them.” She made the threat when retweeting a Washington Post reporter who had shared an article about proposed “anti-mob” legislation that would expand Florida’s “stand your ground law.”
Jones is a registered Democrat and was arrested after admitting to writing the tweet, but said it was a joke.
In an affidavit after she was busted, a Palm Beach County detective noted there was nothing in the message to suggest Jones was joking.
“When I made the observation that there were no commonly used terminology to show the post was a joke, Jones stated that anyone who follows her knows her sense of humor,” the detective wrote.
Jones’ threat is far from unique. Earlier this month, a Miami medical student was arrested over a graphic and violent tweet aimed at U.S. Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell. His attorney and legal experts claim the student is protected by the First Amendment. McConnell has been the subject of multiple threats by Democrats in recent years.
A 61-year-old man in Clearwater, Florida was also arrested earlier this month after police said he wrote YouTube comments threatening to shoot and kill President Trump and “all Republicans,” including his Trump-supporting neighbor and politicians such as DeSantis, Rubio, and Scott. He also said he didn’t mean it.
These incidents follow other violent attacks against Republicans such as Rand Paul and Steve Scalise.
Rand Paul’s neighbor, another Democrat, attacked the Senator in November from behind while he was mowing his lawn. He claimed that it was over lawn debris but later it was found to be politically motivated. Paul was shoved to the ground and several ribs were broken. He had a bruised lung which resulted in pneumonia as well. His attacker was later convicted on charges of assault and was sentenced to eight months in prison and six months on home confinement.
On June 14, 2017, during a practice session for the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity in Alexandria, Virginia, James Hodgkinson — a Bernie Sanders supporter — shot U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, U.S. Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner, congressional aide Zack Barth, and lobbyist Matt Mika. A ten-minute shootout took place between Hodgkinson and officers from the Capitol and Alexandria Police before officers fatally shot Hodgkinson, who died from his wounds later that day at the George Washington University Hospital. Scalise and Mika were taken to nearby hospitals where they underwent surgery. Scalise almost died and it took months for him to recover.
Hodgkinson was a left-wing activist from Belleville, Illinois. The Virginia Attorney General concluded Hodgkinson’s attack was “an act of terrorism… fueled by rage against Republican legislators.” Scalise was the first sitting member of Congress to have been shot since Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot in 2011.
Jones was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on Saturday with a $15,000 bond. Although she was released on bail Monday, the woman was charged with three counts of written threats to kill or do bodily harm. She is being represented by Palm Beach County Assistant Public Defender Alexandra Antonacci, according to court records.