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Police Arrest Man Who Allegedly Threatened Pennsylvania Governor Over Shutdown Order

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf

Pennsylvania state police arrested a Westmoreland County man who allegedly threatened Gov. Tom Wolf (D) over his executive order closing non-essential businesses in response to the pandemic.

Rocco Anthony Naples, 28, made the threat against the governor because he erroneously believed Wolf closed most businesses across the state while keeping his own business enterprise – Wolf Home Products – open to the public, according to The York Dispatch.

However, in a statement to the news outlet, the governor’s press secretary Lyndsay Kensinger said that Wolf has not been associated with his former business since he sold it in 2015 and further stated that Wolf Home Products does not have a state waiver to remain open at this time.

The charging documents reportedly say that Naples called the Wolf Home Products customer service telephone line to express his anger about Wolf and threaten his life.

“Customer called in stating he was angry about Governor Wolf closing their companies but keeping his open, he said that him and a couple of his buddies have a bullet waiting for (Wolf) if he keeps them closed,” the charging documents stated. “It is believed an arrest warrant is appropriate in the interest of public safety and due to the severity and nature of the threat made toward the Governor.”

Naples is being charged with the third-degree felony of threats and other improper influence in official and political matters, plus the misdemeanors of making terroristic threats and harassment.

The political battle over the Democratic governor’s emergency public health order has intensified of late, with several GOP-controlled counties declaring themselves “in open rebellion” against the shutdown of “non-life-sustaining” businesses, according to local news outlet Fox29.

After the counties declared that they had stockpiled enough testing, hospital capacity, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to manage any further outbreaks, Wolf responded on Monday, saying their defiance was “cowardly,” and threatened to withhold federal aid from any local governments that didn’t abide by his order.

President Donald Trump added fuel to the increasingly partisan conflict, tweeting on Monday that “The great people of Pennsylvania want their freedom now, and they are fully aware of what that entails.”

“The Democrats are moving slowly, all over the USA for political purposes,” he said.

[image via YouTube screengrab]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.