David Floyd DeGraw, 55 of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia was arrested and charged with felony threats of terrorist acts against participants of the Black Lives Matter rally last Friday at Berkeley Springs State Park.
Morgan County Sheriff KC Bohrer said that DeGraw made threats in writing on social media, including “I see you I’m gonna kill you, not fight not argue kill you” and “I am always armed so please try me.”
Sheriff Bohrer became aware of the threats made on social media from an investigation in house and also with assistance from the West Virginia Fusion Center.
“Based on the investigation and after consultation with Morgan County Prosecuting Attorney Dan James a decision was made to file charges against the individual posting these remarks,” Sheriff Bohrer said.
Sheriff Bohrer provided Corporal Scott Lemon with the information and directed him to file the criminal complaint.
Once the arrest warrant was issued Deputy Luke Shambaugh and Corporal Sam Smith and West Virginia State Police trooper Cody Barrett were sent to locate and arrest the subject without incident prior to the rally.
DeGraw was arraigned before Magistrate Kermit Ambrose and posted bond.
Bohrer said the threats were made not to any individual but to “people attending the Black Lives Matter rally.”
Bohrer was on WRNR’s Eastern Panhandle Talk with Rob Mario and David Welch this morning to talk about the arrest and the rally.
Bohrer estimated that there were about 200 to 300 people at the rally.
“The Black Lives Matter rally was permitted to begin at six o’clock,” Bohrer said. “A permit was obtained. And folks for the rally and those opposed to the rally began to arrive.”
“Before the rally began, we began monitoring with myself, Town of Bath Police Chief Tony Link, Berkeley Springs State Park Superintendent Scott Fortney and Assistant Superintendent Kelly Smith.”
“Then by about 6:15 tempers began to flare and things began heating up. Then we put teams into play to make sure everyone was safe. By 6:15 we had the two teams deployed.”
“People were advocating for their respective sides – Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter and from there people got into arguments,” Bohrer said. “And we were there to keep the peace.”“There were two sides. It became heated with people shouting. We brought our teams into create a law enforcement barrier to make sure people were safe.”
Rob Mario read a statement from someone who was in attendance at the rally.
“I had a couple of decent conversations with maybe two people – but no not really good people on both sides,” the person wrote. “When you interrupt a prayer by yelling USA and curse young ladies and tell them to go back to public housing and tell an overweight female to take the bacon out of her mouth, then no, not good on both sides.”
Bohrer said it was “hard to hear conversations from our vantage point.”
“Toward the end of the event, I did see people from opposing viewpoints filter off together and having discussions. It seemed like they were having controlled disagreements to try to impart their feelings toward one another. And maybe somewhere along the line some folks can end up in the center.”
Bohrer thanked the officers from around region who arrived to help keep the peace and thanked the people who showed up from both sides.
“It was peaceful,” Bohrer said. “There was no destruction of property.” And other than the arrest before the rally, there were no other arrests.
“So, you have to check that in the win column,” Bohrer said.