Man phoned death threat to Rep. Andrew Garbarino, Nassau police say
A Lake Ronkonkoma man was arrested after making a telephoned threat on the life of U.S. Rep. Andrew Garbarino over a recent vote by the Bayport Republican, Nassau police said.
Kenneth Gasper, 64, faces a second-degree charge of aggravated harassment, police said late Thursday.
Gasper "did make a death threat over the telephone towards United States Congressman Andrew Garbarino for a recent congressional vote that Defendant Gasper did not agree with," Nassau police said in a new release.
The Special Investigations Section is handling the case, according to police. Additional information about the threat, or the House vote by Garbarino that led investigators to charge Gasper, was not immediately available.
The freshman congressman was one of just 13 Republicans to vote Nov. 5 for the Democratic-led $1.2 trillion infrastructure package. Those GOP defectors were harshly criticized afterward by former President Donald Trump. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called them "traitors" while tweeting their names and office telephone numbers.
A statement released by Garbarino late Thursday in response to a request for comment on the alleged threat made no mention of it.
"Unfortunately, there’s been so much misinformation circulating and it’s causing a lot of anger and confusion," Garbarino said, "but the truth is that the Infrastructure Bill is not the Reconciliation Bill. It’s about paving roads, repairing bridges, and bringing jobs to Long Island. Anyone saying otherwise is trafficking in lies."
By late September, more than eight months after Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, threats against federal lawmakers had soared compared to 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times. In the first three months of 2021, the Times reported, the Capitol Police recorded 4,135 threats against members of Congress. If that pace continues, according to the story, total threats this year will double those in 2020.
In July, the U.S. Capitol Police released a report about enhanced security efforts to protect congress members "outside the National Capitol Region." The agency said it was also in the process of opening regional field offices to investigate threats against congress members.
Capitol Police officials were unavailable for comment late Thursday.
Police said Gasper appeared Thursday in First District Court for arraignment. He was released on his own recognizance with a temporary restraining order and is due back in court on Nov. 24, according to court records.