Working closely with law enforcement professionals in several states, the FBI announced the arrest of former pizza delivery driver, Cesar Sayoc. Sayoc, a White American male from Aventura, Florida, has been charged with five Federal crimes, including mailing an incendiary device and threatening a former president. Sayoc was arrested at an auto parts store in the nearby city of Plantation.
Charges stem from Sayoc’s alleged construction and mailing of 14 explosive devices to prominent Democrats, CNN and others who have been vocal in their opposition to President Donald Trump, according to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Federal investigators confirm that Sayoc is a staunch supporter and defender of President Trump and the policies of his administration. In a statement following the arrest, Sessions described Sayoc’s crimes as “political violence or the threat of violence,” saying that such crimes are “antithetical to our vigorous system of self-government.”
A nationwide manhunt for the bomber was initiated as former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed the list of those who were sent pipe bombs and other suspicious packages through the mail.
Though not among Sayoc’s list of intended victims, the members of the Black Press of America have a long history of direct experience with both successful and unsuccessful attempts at political violence.
In recent weeks, there has been a significant increase in the number of threats received from misguided callers claiming to be supporters of the Trump administration’s policies. National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) President and CEO, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., issued a National Alert on Friday, to more the than 220 NNPA member newspapers and media companies that make up the Black Press of America and BlackPressUSA.com.
“Please be advised that NNPA’s national office has recently received several threats in the wake of our presenting the 2018 NNPA National Leadership Award to The Honorable Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) last month in Washington, DC,” Chavis revealed. Congresswoman Waters, an avid critic of the Trump administration, has been identified as one of 14 packages allegedly mailed by Sayoc.
NNPA National Chairman Dorothy Leavell emphasized, “I am deeply disturbed by the recent bomb threats that have been sent to many of our national leaders and now includes The Black Press of America. Our freedoms and peace of mind that we have enjoyed for so long seem to now be threatened and, if it continues, will be a thing of the past.”
“What is most troubling is that the highest national leader, the President of the United States, has not addressed this growing problem or provided any leadership in unifying our country in the manner that we have been accustomed to by past presidents.”
Police intercepted packages similar to those mailed to Obama and the Clintons addressed to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), billionaire Democratic Donor George Soros and actor and well-known Trump critic Robert DeNiro, among others.
Court records show that the 56-year old Sayoc has a long history of arrests, including charges for theft, stolen property and traffic charges and, in 2002, with threatening to “throw, place, project or discharge any destructive device.”
According to the arrest record obtained by ABC News dated Aug. 20, 2002, Sayoc called Florida Power & Light and “threatened to blow up FPL,” saying “that ‘it would be worse than September 11th.’”
Ronald Lowy, an attorney representing the Florida Power & Light employee who received the threat, told The Associated Press that Sayoc, “made a verbal threat when he was frustrated at a lack of service.”
Sayoc, whose vehicle reportedly had photos of Trump on it and other pro-Republican banners and fliers, didn’t give a comment publicly.
Many in the media, as well as many leading Democrats and some Republicans, have cited the administration’s failure to publicly denounce both the threats and acts of violence that have been committed against the President’s detractors. They point to the President’s willingness to condone physical attacks against members of the media as one example and fear that such language is a call to arms for some of his supporters.
Last month, avid Trump supporter and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, blasted the NNPA on Twitter for presenting Congresswoman Maxine Waters with the Association’s National Leadership Award. Gov. Huckabee’s comments were echoed by thousands of others from his Twitter base of 1 million followers.
“Memo to media: If you wonder why so many Americans don’t trust you, this might be a clue,” Huckabee Tweeted in response to a Tweet from RedState.com. “Did you give Maxine Waters her award because she called for public harassment of Republicans?” Huckabee, whose daughter is White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, did not return several requests from the NNPA’s BlackPressUSA.com for further comment, including an invitation to contribute an Op-Ed.