POLK COUNTY, IA- An Iowa man is facing charges after leaving a threatening voicemail for Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Jan. 5, saying she should be “hung for treason.”
Harvey Hunter, 48 was charged by authorities with first-degree harassment after he left the message on a hotline voicemail set up for the purposes of getting input from state residents over partial COVID-19 mask mandates.
In the message, Hunter called Reynolds—a Republican—a dictator, saying, “Every single one of you need to be hung for treason for pushing this COVID scam,” a criminal complaint filed in Polk County read.
If Hunter thinks Reynolds is a dictator, he should take a look at Michigan and California.
Hunter seemed to get more fired up as the message went on, calling the governor two derogatory names directed toward women and then said, “…you need to be put in front of a firing squad.”
Hunter turned himself in to police last month. If convicted, Hunter is facing up to two years in prison for the crime, a misdemeanor. He pleaded not guilty and his attorney recently filed a motion to have Reynolds deposed in the case. A tentative date of sometime in June was set for the trial.
In charging documents, prosecutors said Hunter’s comments were the most serious form of harassment under state law due to threatening “to commit a forcible felony” against the governor.
According to officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, a number of elected officials, Reynolds included, have faced what they referred to as “widespread and alarming” recent threats, they announced last week.
At the same time, they announced a $400,000 plan to construct a security fence around the governor’s residence. Hunter’s case was specifically mentioned last week when a spokesman was asked about it by the Des Moines Register.
In phone interviews conducted on Wednesday and Thursday, Hunter vehemently denied threatening to kill Reynolds, rather said both she and other government officials who implemented COVID-19 restrictions should be put on trial for treason and punished if convicted. He believes the mandates were violations of freedom.
“This is why we got the First Amendment so we can criticize our government,” said Hunter, a truck driver who lives in Stuart, a small town located about 40 miles west of Des Moines. “It was my opinion,” he said.
Hunter identifies himself as a conservative and says he believes in some key parts of the so-called “QAnon conspiracy theory. He noted that unlike a post on Facebook, the call would have never been publicized had he not been charged.
He specifically opposed the governor’s decision last November to impose a limited mask mandate, since lifted in February, as well as previous restrictions on businesses and schools.
“I was a big fan of Gov. Reynolds until she started stepping on everyone’s rights and freedoms,” Hunter said. “She’s wanting to play a victim, when she’s literally victimizing everyone else.”
Iowa state law says that comments can cross over into being illegal if the intent is to “intimidate, annoy or alarm another person,” and when such comments have no “legitimate purpose.”
In a 1989 case, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that a man who had written a profane letter to a state trooper who issued him a ticket for speeding was not guilty of harassment.
The court noted that only a small number of “fighting words,” intended to incite violence or injury rose to the level of criminal harassment. They further ruled that profane and/or offensive language does not.
According to Rita Bettis Austen, legal director of the Iowa chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the First Amendment protections do not extend to “true threats” that express serious intent to commit violence against an individual or group.
“That is a very high mark for a prosecutor to meet, and care must be taken not to chill protected speech in bringing a prosecution,” she said.
As with a number of governors, Reynolds was subject to sharp criticism from conservatives for using her emergency powers to impose so-called public health restrictions when hospitals began to fill up with virus patients last November, mandates which included a mask mandate and limits on gatherings.
Conversely, the mask Nazi crowd argued that Reynolds had acted too late and has been too quick to fully reopen schools, despite the fact that children are virtually unaffected by the coronavirus.
As far as his appearance in court, one thing Hunter was happy about—he wasn’t forced to wear a mask when he was booked at the Polk County jail prior to being released on bond.
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Another governor who has faced overwhelming criticism is Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, easily one of the most out-of-control, power mad governors who took advantage of COVID-19 to flex her muscles. For more on her, we invite you to:
MICHIGAN- Austin Chenge, 35, is an entrepreneur, Army veteran, and African immigrant who has launched his campaign to run as a Republican against Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in 2022.
— Austin Chenge (@AustinChenge) February 3, 2021
Chenge, who recently appeared on The Kyle Olson Show, said that he moved to America after college to join his family, who immigrated to the state in 2008. He said:
“When I began this campaign, it was because of the love that I have for this state. I couldn’t just stand by and let everything just fall apart without doing anything about it.”
Chenge added that he is “deeply conservative,” citing the First and Second Amendments as things needing to be defended. He said:
“Our American values are based on Judeo Christian principles. That’s not something anybody should be ashamed of.”
AUSTIN CHENGE!! Rooting for you!! https://t.co/K4fXbPQbbY
— Sarita (@Sarita_CaliGirl) February 3, 2021
Chenge alleged that Whitmer bases her decisions on politics. He said:
“She doesn’t are about the people of Michigan. She has surrounded herself with a group of people who just say yes, which is a classic characteristic of a dictator.”
Chenge discussed how the government system includes checks and balances and stated that Whitmer has note been working with the legislature on solutions to the coronavirus pandemic. He said:
“I have met people who have lost everything because the governor wakes up today, ‘This is the order.’ The next day it changes. People don’t know what to do anymore.”
“People are losing their livelihoods, they’re losing their savings, they’re losing everything they worked for. That is not right. That is unAmerican.”
“Dominion Voting Systems: I have reviewed the 160 page contract between Michigan and Dominion, and can confirm as #Governor, I will cancel this contract on Day One…” Austin Chenge, #Veteran and First #GOP Gov #Candidate For #Michigan. Visit https://t.co/WSCP2ITiwa for more. pic.twitter.com/bLz7iz0J6T
— Austin Chenge (@AustinChenge) February 2, 2021
Chenge said that he has already visited all 83 counties in the state and engaged with voters. He continues to encourage those in power to do the same. He said:
“I’d go out there and meet people and talk to them. I’m going to be very accessible. I’m not going to lock myself up in a mansion and sit there and build a fence around it to put people out.”
“You send the wrong message as a leader, you welcome people with open arms. You don’t hide behind security checkpoints and all of that.”
#UPDATE (ENDORSEMENT): Montmorency County Republican Party voted last week to fully endorse Austin Chenge for Michigan’s next #Governor…” Thank you, I will not let the people of #Michigan down. God bless. | Visit https://t.co/WSCP2JaTnI for more. #GOP pic.twitter.com/qQzCSyh3qX
— Austin Chenge (@AustinChenge) January 25, 2021
He added that he believes Americans will “do the right thing” with information about the coronavirus and would prefer a strategy of keeping things open as opposed to the lockdown strategy Whitmer has employed. He said:
“They’re going to stay open, businesses are going to be running, but they’ll be very responsible. But, when you come down hard on people and begin to dictate to everyone what they should and should not do and threaten them with fines, shut down their livelihoods, what you’re going to have is you’re going to create massive unemployment and people are just going to be sick and tired of everything that’s happening.”
“I’m encouraging people not to give up.”
According to his campaign website, on day one of being Michigan’s next Governor:
“I will cancel any contract Michigan has with Dominion and fight for voter ID; introduce the biggest tax cuts in Michigan history; cut government spending and keep money in the pockets of Michigan families and hardworking Americans.”
Additionally, Chenge plans to:
“Create mental and psychological emergency care units across Michigan and provide better access to healthcare and education; defend our constitution, our God-given rights, our unborn citizens, and our American family values; immediately cut funding to sanctuary cities, repeal the pension tax, and fund our post-apocalyptic roads.”
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