A 32-year-old Florida man who reportedly referred to himself as the “antifa hunter” is headed to prison after spending months targeting a Black man with cyberattacks and threats.
Daniel McMahon was sentenced Monday to three years and five months in federal prison for cyberstalking and bias-motivated intimidation and interference with a candidate for elected office.
McMahon’s victim, Don Gathers, is a Black Lives Matter activist and co-founder of the Charlottesville, Virginia chapter of the social justice initiative. In 2019, Gathers planned to run for a seat on the city council. McMahon sent him a slew of violent threats that prompted Gathers to end his candidacy.
Gathers was motivated to run for city office in the wake of the Charlottesville Unite the Right rally in 2017. He also sat on a committee dedicated to removing and relocating Confederate statues in the city.
McMahon pleaded guilty in April to attacking Gathers online and to threatening to sexually assault the daughter of another activist who protested white supremacists.
The man used racial slurs and threats of violence to stop Gathers’ campaign. Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the Department of Justice, said in a news release that “Americans have the right to run for office in this country without facing racially-bigoted threats of violence.”
According to a report from The Washington Post, McMahon frequently promoted beliefs on the internet that “white people are superior to members of other racial, ethnic and religious groups.”
“God put me on this earth to hunt and stop antifa,” McMahon wrote in a message online, according to court documents. “I’m the antifa hunter.”
McMahon also allegedly went by the pseudonym, “Jack Corbin” on Gab, a social network frequently used by the far-right.
Federal investigators found that “Jack Corbin” had extensive contact on the site with a fellow user named Robert Bowers. The man went on to conduct a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people in October 2018.
After the shooting, “Jack Corbin” posted “God bless that man.”
Prosecutors said that McMahon had hundreds of folders with personal information on his targets, including information about their children. He also kept graphic photos of the body of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old killed by a Florida vigilante.
At McMahon’s sentencing, Gathers said that he hoped to one day forgive the man, “but today is not that day.”
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