The FBI has launched an investigation into a Chicago-area man after he allegedly called for the lynching of Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson.
Tom Keevers, 54, claims it was merely “a joke” when he posted a picture of Wilson on Facebook with the caption, “Need ten good men to help carry out a lynching. Must have own horse and saddle. Rope will be provided.”
Another Facebook user took a screenshot of Keevers’ post and shared it to Twitter, prompting the post to go viral. Wilson has been under national scrutiny since President Donald Trump accused her of lying about his conversation with a gold star widow last week.
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Keevers defended his comments by saying he got into a “fast and furious” debate on the social media website “that got out of control,” the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
“Don’t people get in arguments on Facebook all the time?” Keevers said. “People threaten Donald Trump all the time and nothing happens. I don’t think a lot about what I write on Facebook.”
It is unlikely that Keevers’ lynching comment was the result of an escalating argument, however, as the argument in question took place in the comments of his original “lynch” post.
Police told him he had “nothing to worry about,” Keevers insisted to reporters and said that police only contacted him to make sure he and his family were safe after receiving a slew of death threats after the post went viral.
Local police in Des Plaines, Ill., turned over the investigation to federal authorities.
Keevers has yet to face any charges, but threatening a member of congress is a federal crime that carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.
This isn’t Keevers’ first encounter with the FBI. In 2003, the bureau honored him and two other Chicago men for their bravery in helping to subdue a bank robber.
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