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Press Release

Massachusetts Man Convicted of Sending Threatening Emails to Police Commissioner

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that that Peter Fratus, 39, of West Dennis, MA, was convicted today at trial of sending threatening email messages to City of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw.

In August 2020, Fratus was charged by Indictment with transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce. According to the Indictment, on June 6, 2020, the defendant sent two emails to the Philadelphia Police Commissioner’s City of Philadelphia email address. Both emails allegedly contained racist, offensive, and threatening language, with one communication asking about where the Commissioner lives.

“It is a federal felony to threaten another person online, whether the victim is a private citizen or a public figure,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “The public can rest assured that our Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will work tirelessly to identify anyone who does this and ensure they’re held accountable for their actions.”

“The perceived anonymity offered by the internet has emboldened many people into thinking they can post or send anything they want,” said Bradley S. Benavides, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Today, a jury proved that’s not the case, holding Peter Fratus accountable for his violent threats. This was not free speech. This was a crime. Know that the FBI will continue to investigate and bring to justice people like Fratus who clearly cross that line.”

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the Philadelphia Police Department and the Dennis Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Robert J. Livermore and Sarah M. Wolfe.


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Updated September 15, 2021