Volusia Proud Boy facing charges claimed last fall that threats were made against his life
Joe Biggs, 37, of unincorporated Ormond Beach, told a Volusia County sheriff's deputy about threatening calls and social-media posts he'd received on Sept. 30, following former President Donald Trump's words during the debate the day before: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by."
The morning after the debate, Biggs said he began receiving multiple threatening phone calls from blocked and unblocked numbers starting at 8:46 a.m., a report shows.
The sheriff's report that was released to The News-Journal does not name Biggs specifically. The victim's name and address are redacted, as required by Marsy's Law.
But the newspaper requested the report after Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Biggs had reported threats several months ago. The victim's age and other identifying facts in the report are consistent with Biggs, who in addition to organizing several events confronting antifa protesters and others who oppose Proud Boys' views, gained some measure of fame working as an on-camera personality for Alex Jones' InfoWars website and more recently hosted his own Internet show on the right-wing channel censored.TV.
Biggs' show now appears to have been removed from censored.TV.
'Haha, got you ...'
According to the sheriff's report: the first caller asked if Biggs had answered, and he said yes, and the voice replied: "Haha, got you mother f-----." Other calls followed. Some laughed. Others remained silent, according to the sheriff's report.
A Twitter account posted Biggs' street . A Facebook post shared more information.
And Biggs told authorities he lives with his 3-year-old daughter "and is fearful for her safety."
As the deputy was at Biggs' home, a call from a blocked number rang. "The caller was male and identified himself as 'Joe Wittle.' Wittle asked if (redacted) was in Florida and repeatedly asked where (redacted) was going to be," the report reads.
The report lists five phone numbers. The News-Journal called some of them, most were not in service, but a man at one of them answered and said he had never called to threaten or harass Biggs, and said no law enforcement agency had contacted him asking about it.
"I never made a threat against a Proud Boy," the voice said, "although I'm not a fan of that group."
Biggs also reported "that a Black man with long dreadlocks and backpack drove past his road today on a motorcycle with no lights on at night,": the report states.
An extra patrol request was made for Biggs' street, the report states.
And Biggs — who was kicked off Twitter after confrontational posts like saying of antifa: "We hunt them. Get their info. Expose them. Make them scared to be in public" — elected to keep his information private under Marsy's Law.
Marsy's Law applies
That law, which passed with 62% of the vote as an amendment to the Florida Constitution in 2018, gives crime victims the right to be notified of legal proceedings involving defendants, to be heard, to remain private and to be protected from harassment.
Marsy's Law is named for a crime victim, Marsalee Nicholas of California, who was killed by an ex-boyfriend in 1983. Her parents were later confronted by the accused killer in a grocery store, unaware that he had been released on bail. Henry T. Nicholas III, the father, later advocated for victims’ rights.
But the application of the Marsy's Law has been problematic, said Pamela Marsh, president of the Florida First Amendment Foundation.
"It’s been interpreted and misinterpreted all across the state in a manner that is inconsistent," Marsh said. "Just the fact of the inconsistency from county to county in how it’s been applied and implemented have caused great confusion and we've tried to get some clarity. We haven't gotten it yet."
For example, some police agencies automatically redact the names of crime victims from reports, while others take an "opt-out" approach, allowing victims to ask to keep their names private but not making it automatic.
Also, the law has been interpreted to include businesses, such as a bank that's been robbed, from being identified, Marsh said. The Florida Highway Patrol no longer identifies persons involved in car accidents, even if no crime is suspected.
"All of these pieces make it difficult for communities to know how to protect themselves. If there's an armed robbery in your neighborhood, but reporters aren't allowed to tell you where that occurred or whose home was victimized, then you don't know how to protect yourself better," Marsh said. "That's what crime reporting is all about."
— Staff Writer Frank Fernandez contributed to this report.
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