SANFORD, Fla. - Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood on Monday confronted Richard Golden, the man who was arrested in New Jersey in connection to multiple death threats posted online against Chitwood. Golden was extradited to Volusia County for his felony charge.
Chitwood promised he'd be at the airport welcoming Golden to Florida earlier this month, when he led a press conference announcing the arrest. The threats are considered to be part of a pushback by anti-Semitic activists against Chitwood's recent advocacy for local Jewish residents, following a number of demonstrations by hate groups since mid-February.
The threats attributed to Golden are quite graphic: "Just shoot Chitwood in the head and he stops being a problem," he allegedly said on the online forum 4chan. "They have to find a new guy to be the new problem. But shooting Chitwood in the head solves an immediate problem permanently. Just shoot Chitwood in the head and murder him."
As promised, Chitwood was the first person Golden saw when he descended down the escalator from his terminal at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport on Monday. He was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on $100,000 for one felony charge of written threats to kill.
"I'm Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood," the Sheriff said as Golden strolled directly past him with little acknowledgment. "I hope you enjoy your stay, welcome to Florida."
Afterward, Chitwood explained that he wanted Golden to see him face to face. "I wanted him to look in my eye and say, 'you're the guy I want to put a bullet in your head'," he said. "When he came down the escalator, he could've said something. He didn't say a word."
Chitwood has drawn the opposition of several hate groups, most notably the Goyim Defense League, following his aggressive campaign against anti-Semitism in recent months. The Sheriff is pushing not only for stronger anti-hate education in public schools, but for legislation upping the criminal penalties for those who disseminate hateful rhetoric on private property.