Mass. man who sent threatening emails to Police Commissioner Outlaw gets prison time

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw

File photo: Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Federal prosecutors announced on Wednesday that a Massachusetts man convicted of emailing racist and misogynistic threats to Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Peter Fratus, 39, will also serve three years of supervised release.

“Peter Fratus apparently thought he could make violent physical threats with impunity, but today’s sentencing proves how wrong he was,” Jacqueline Maguire, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia division, said in a news release. “Threats to life are most certainly not protected speech, and the FBI will continue to work with our partners to hold accountable anyone who crosses the line and commits these criminal acts.”

Fratus, of West Dennis, was found guilty on charges of transmitting threatening communications in interstate commerce after a three-day trial in September last year. In June 2020, he sent two emails to Outlaw’s official email address, amid nationwide protests against police brutality after the murder of George Floyd.

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Both emails contained racist, offensive, and threatening language, with one inquiring where Outlaw lives.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Fratus had a long history of sending racist, misogynistic threats, and of assaulting law enforcement officers.

The emails were investigated by the FBI with help from the Philadelphia Police Department and the Dennis Police Department in Massachusetts.

“Sending threats online is a serious federal crime, whether the victim is a private citizen or a prominent civic leader,” Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a news release announcing Fratus’ September conviction. “The public can rest assured that our Office, together with our law enforcement partners, will work tirelessly to identify anyone who does this in order to ensure they’re held accountable for their actions.”

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