Sheriff's Threat to Chop Off Hands, Pulling Gun on Reporter Leads to Arrest

Wednesday, 27 Mar 2013 11:46 AM

By Michael Mullins

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A Pennsylvania sheriff who reportedly threatened to cut off the hands of a political campaign worker, pulled a gun on a reporter, and threatened to beat other journalists was arrested and led into court in handcuffs on Monday by state police.

The first threat reportedly occurred in November 2011 when Beaver County Sheriff George David, a Democrat, reportedly threatened another Democratic campaigner, telling him: "Shake my hand. I'll cut your . . . hands off and I'll eat them. I'll cut your hands off."

According to authorities, the campaigner did not report the alleged exchange when it happened because he feared he would lose his county job, The Associated Press reported.

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Another alteration occurred the following April at the county courthouse when the 65-year-old sheriff reportedly pulled a gun on a local reporter for an online news website, the Beaver Countian.

According to the journalist, John Paul Vranesevich, the sheriff didn't approve of his reporting on an alleged scandal that involved the purchase of uniforms for county employees, telling him, "I'll blow your ... brains out."

On the news website, Vranesevich writes that he was "terrified as the elected Sheriff of Beaver County pulled out his service weapon and began threatening murder."

During the exchange with Vranesevich, David allegedly made similar threats to other area journalists he did not approve of, saying at one point that he would beat Beaver County-Times reporter J.D. Prose "worse than I used to beat the [blacks] in Aliquippa," using a racial slur, authorities said.

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David was charged with simple assault, witness intimidation, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, official oppression, and obstructing the administration of law.

David was allowed to remain free after his arraignment, but was ordered by a district judge to have no contact with the alleged victims, to surrender his blackjack, and not to carry a firearm, the AP reported.

Related stories:

Wis. Sheriff Urges Citizens to Get Gun Training

Mass. Sheriff Defends Obama Assassination Joke

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