Massachusetts police have arrested a local man who allegedly sent a threatening email to Florida state Rep. Will Snyder over the Republican’s proposal to bring an Arizona-style immigration law to the Sunshine State.
"You better just stop that ridiculous law if you value your and your family’s lives, a------," the e-mail said.
Police identified the suspect as Manuel E. Pintado, 47, Snyder told The Miami Herald & St. Petersburg Times.
"It’s a pretty thoughtless letter, don’t you think," said Snyder in his trademark low-key style.
Snyder said he received the email just one hour after the Tucson shooting rampage targeting Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Snyder referred the matter to the Martin County Sherriff’s Office on Jan. 9, and the office soon contacted authorities in Northampton, Mass.
Massachusetts police said Pintado acknowledged sending the email from a local Starbucks. A self-described "political activist," Pintado said he was concerned Snyder wanted to undo the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizenship to those born in the United States.
Pintado said he didn’t mean to kill Snyder, but "was glad the email made (Snyder) nervous," according to an arrest affidavit (Download Pintado_Snyder). Pintado was charged with attempted corruption by threat of a public official and written threat to kill or injure, which are second- and third-degree felonies, respectively.
Snyder said the incident shows that heated rhetoric is an unfortunate part of public service: "There are extremists on both ends of the political spectrum," said Snyder.
Snyder, a former Miami police officer who now lives in Stuart, said the email concerned him because people shouldn’t make violent threats against anyone. He also pointed out that he proposed an immigration crack-down bill because "we’re a nation of laws.
"I’m not out there saying immigrants are stealing jobs or ruining our schools," he said. "I just believe the laws should be enforced."
But Stuart isn’t ramming through his legislation. He’s working closely with the Florida Hispanic caucus and has expressed a willingness to tone down the most controversial aspect of the Arizona-style law: A requirement that police ask suspects for proof of citizenship during routine traffic stops or arrests.