KEY POINTS

  • Daniel McMahon harassed Black activist Don Gathers on social media
  • He also threatened to sexually assault a severely autistic minor girl
  • Contents of his computer exposed his hatred toward Black people

A Florida man, who called himself the "Antifa hunter" and launched online campaigns to harass those who disagreed with his white supremacist ideology, was sentenced to three years and five months in federal prison Monday.

Daniel McMahon, of Brandon, Florida, admitted in April that he threatened Black activist Don Gathers on social media to prevent him from running for a seat in the city council of Charlottesville, Virginia. He also said he threatened to sexually assault the young autistic daughter of a female activist from North Carolina.

The 32-year-old used the pseudonyms "Jack Corbin," "Pale Horse," "Restore Silent Sam," and "Dakota Stone," to cyberstalk his victims and called himself "the Antifa hunter," a reference to anti-fascist, leftist militant activists who threaten or battle neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

On learning that Gathers was planning to announce his candidacy for the city council, McMahon launched an online attack on him and posted threatening messages filled with racial slurs, a press release from the Justice Department said.

The unnamed North Carolina woman who protested against white nationalists said in a written statement that McMahon methodically "cultivated a culture of fear and chaos", the Associated Press reported.

"There is seemingly nothing that Daniel McMahon will not do in the name of white supremacy," she wrote in the statement, which was presented before the court Monday.

Prison Bars
Representational image showing prison bars. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

She said McMahon allegedly threatened her by sending hundreds of messages on Facebook Messenger, some of which included details on how he would sexually assault her severely autistic minor daughter. He posted the child’s photo on a social media platform that promoted racism, she added. The court filing also points out that McMahon did a Google search for the term "sex with autistic girls" a day before his arrest.

"Only a deeply disturbed individual would do this, a monster," the woman wrote. "I will never feel completely safe about my child again."

The contents of McMahon’s computer exposed his obsession with racially motivated violence and hatred of Black people, prosecutors said. They included images of white supremacist James Fields ramming his car into a crowd of Charlottesville counterprotesters, which claimed the life of a woman.

One folder contained photos of several dead Black men, including graphic images of Black teenager Trayvon Martin who was shot and killed in Florida in 2012, prosecutors said. Other folders were filled with personal information about his "targets", including photos of their children. McMahon compiled 35 gigabytes of data that he could "weaponize" against his targets, prosecutors said.

"This defendant weaponized social media to threaten and intimidate his perceived political enemies and propagate a violent white-supremacist ideology," U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen of the Western District of Virginia said in the release.

During the sentencing Monday, Gathers said "a new day, a different day, is coming" for those who share McMahon's "pitiful views." "Like it or not, Black lives matter," Gathers added.

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