Firm suspends executive accused of sending racist threats to Colo. lawmaker over gun control bills
Suspect's attorney: Fields 'trampling' his rights
Last Updated: 283 days ago
DENVER - Two state lawmakers supporting gun-control legislation have received threats against themselves and their family members, 7NEWS has learned.
An Englewood high tech firm executive was arrested Friday on suspicion of harassing State Rep. Rhonda Fields, one of the state lawmakers leading the charge on gun control legislation in Colorado.
Franklin Sain, 42, was arrested on investigation of harassment and attempting to influence a public official. He has been released on $30,000 bond.
His employer, SofTec Solutions, announced Tuesday through Facebook that Sain was suspended.
"SofTec Solutions, Inc. has been informed of allegations against our employee, Mr. Frank Sain. We are shocked to learn of these allegations and are taking this matter very seriously. If true, these actions are highly inappropriate and will not be tolerated. Pending SofTec’s investigation into this matter, Mr. Sain has been suspended immediately from further duties at SofTec. SofTec Solutions is a minority-owned, small business and we employ a large diverse workforce. We will absolutely not tolerate any racial, sexual, gender-based slurs or threats of violence by employees."
Several people wrote "fire him" under the company's Facebook, statement on Tuesday afternoon. Eight people also "liked" the firm's statement.
"Frank Sian is a loose-cannon and a danger to society, you can count on losing business if he still works there after all the dust settles," one man posted.
Police said they found Sain after reviewing threatening emails and voice mails to Fields, a Democrat from Aurora. (Read the emails and letter --http://media.thedenverchannel.com/documents/FranklinSainAffidavit.pdf.)
Fields also told 7NEWS that she was granted a restraining order against Sain. She added that Sain's weapons permit was revoked because of that order.
Sain's attorneys, Siddhartha H. Rathod and Qusair Mohamedbhai, issued this statement on Tuesday afternoon:
"We are deeply concerned about the government's retaliation against Mr. Sain for his protected First Amendment political speech. We appreciate Representative Rhonda Fields’s service to our community; however, we remind you that Mr. Sain valiantly served his country as a decorated Iraqi war veteran. Representative Fields appears to be furthering her political agenda by trampling on Mr. Sain’s constitutionally protected free speech in order to infringe on all Coloradans’ Second Amendment rights."
Investigators say Sain's emails repeatedly refer to the African American lawmaker with obscene and racist language and also use a racial slur to describe President Barack Obama, according to an arrest affidavit.
"I guarantee there is not enough law enforcement, or military to stop an all out overthrow of this government if you or that (racial slur) President tries to take our guns," one email states. "Guarantee, we will make world war I and II look like child's play, many will die...be prepared."
Sain is the chief operating officer at SofTec Solutions Inc., an Englewood information technology company that does work for the government and health care companies.
When two Denver police detectives interviewed Sain on Feb. 19 in his office, he admitted he had sent phone messages and emails to Fields, but added: "I didn't threaten her," the affidavit said.
Sain also admitted to using profanity and "racist names" in the calls and emails, the affidavit said.
According to the affidavit, police suspect Sain also sent Fields an anonymous letter that refers to the lawmaker with the same obscene, racist phrase repeatedly used in emails and phone messages that Sain admitted sending to the lawmaker. The letter also contains a reference to "30 round magazines" used in Sain's emails.
"I will keep my 30 round magazines. There will be blood! I'm coming for you (expletive)," states the letter, received at Fields' Capitol office on Feb. 21.
The letter names Fields and her daughter and states, "Death to Both."
Sain grew increasingly apologetic during follow up phone calls with a detective, police said.
"I don't use that word when I talk. I'm not a racist. Those emails are not who I am," Sain told the detective during a phone conversation."
Talking about what motivated his phone calls and emails to Fields, Sain told police, "I'm just voicing some frustrations about a topic I consider sacred, especially after wearing a uniform and fighting for this country. When you have media pushing blame on gun owners, that just gets me emotional."
When a reporter and photographer knocked on the door of Sain's Colorado Springs home on Monday, someone opened the door slightly and a hand stuck a note out that read, "No comment."
The violent threats shocked veteran lawmakers.
"As legislators, we're used to getting, mail and phones calls and emails that disagree with us, but getting one that threatens your daughter's life is totally inappropriate," said State Senate President John Morse.
"Rep. Fields is just trying to do the best she can for the people of Colorado and to keep Colorado children safe by limiting gun violence -- and it's met with more violence. It is just appalling," Morse said.
Fields told police she feared for her life and her daughter's life. She added that she avoided a recent town hall meeting because she did not "want to jeopardize the safety of others by attending the meeting."
In one email, Sain also refers Fields and Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, who are co-sponsoring legislation requiring a universal background check for gun purchases.
"hopefully somebody Gifords (sic) your asses with a gun," read the email, referring to former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was badly wounded when a mentally ill gunman opened fired as she met with constituents outside a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011. Six people died and 12 others were wounded.
Fields thanked law enforcement officers on Twitter Monday.
"Thank you for your aggressive police work,surveillance & protection of my families safety," Fields tweeted. "There is no such thing as an idle threat."
The lawmaker received a protective escort from a Colorado state trooper on Monday.
Meanwhile, State Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, a Commerce City Democrat, told 7NEWS reporter Amanda Kost that he has also received threatening letters and emails.
"Over the course of this last week, I've received death threats. I've received rape threats against my 2 1/2-year-old daughter and other members of my family, because I'm standing up against gun violence," Ulibarri said.
"And to take a simple stance against gun violence, I've been met with the highest level of hate. I expected to take heat for the positions I take personally, but when my family's attacked I think it goes way beyond anything that should happen in the public discourse about safety issues," the senator said.
Ulibarri said he has reported the threats to the Colorado State Patrol.
Fields has introduced two pieces of gun-related legislation during this legislative session.
One bill requires background checks for all private gun sales. The other measure bans high-capacity bullet clips. Both bills are working their way through the legislative process.
Fields son, Javad Marshall-Fields, and his fiance, Vivian Wolfe, both 22, died in a hail of gunfire as they drove through an Aurora intersection on June 20, 2005.
The couple was targeted a week before Marshall-Fields was scheduled to testify about a killing he'd witnessed in Aurora. Three men were convicted in the murder of Marshall-Fields and Wolfe.
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