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Bay Area Lawmaker Threats May Be Tied To Arizona Shooting

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / BCN / KCBS) — Detectives investigating the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona last weekend are considering a connection to California state Sen. Leland Yee, who has received death threats for criticizing former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Yee, D-San Francisco, received calls this week from sheriff’s detectives in Pima County, Ariz., where Giffords was among 19 people shot outside a Safeway grocery store. Six people died in the shooting but Giffords, believed to be the target, survived.

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports

“We haven’t been updated on if there’s a connection,” Yee’s spokesman Adam Keigwin said Friday.

Keigwin said Yee’s office received threats relevant to Giffords’ investigation in April 2010, when the senator helped reveal that officials at California State University, Stanislaus shredded documents related to Palin’s contract fees as a keynote speaker.

During the incident, students dug through a trash bin outside a campus administration building and found a shredded contract with a speaker who required first-class air travel from Anchorage, Alaska.

Yee chided the university in news reports, and in response, several voice, text and graphic threats were sent to his office.

>> Audio: Listen To Threatening Voice Message #1 (.mp3)

>> Audio: Listen To Threatening Voice Message #2 (.wav)

“Good thing you run in San Francisco ’cause you’d never make it anywhere else,” said a sign-off to a voicemail that was preceded by substantial anti-homosexual comments.

Additional faxes and phone calls were overtly racist, both anti-Chinese and anti-black in reference to President Obama, Keigwin said.

>> Download Copy Of Racist Fax Sent To Yee (.pdf) – Warning: Offensive Material

No one has been arrested for threats made against Yee, which Keigwin said have happened for more than six years.

In one of the office’s most notable incidents, calls to Yee’s office said the senator was a “dead man” if he showed up to a 2005 news conference on violent video game legislation.

Keigwin received racist text messages again referencing violent video game legislation in 2009. Officers tracked down the person who made the threats and issued a warning, but no arrest was made, Keigwin said.

Keigwin said he didn’t have a lot of information on how threats are typically handled because the California Highway Patrol manages the investigations.

The CHP and Pima County Sheriff’s Office were unavailable Friday to comment on the investigation.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

  • Anonymous

    Arrest all people who used death threats and lock them up for a very long time! And I want Sarah Palin to stop being herself, learn how to stop saying violent words and learn how to show civility more or more death threats will increase!

    • Budm

      Close down ALL TARGET stores next?

    • Marty

      That’s right, blame it on Palin…Spoken like a true Democrat, I want, I want, I want! Grow up at stop blaming someone else and just go look in the mirror if you want someone to blame.

      • BudM

        Yep, these crying libs blame on somebody else that has nothing to do with shooting, we should close down ALL TARGET stores also.
        The friend of the shooting already call the shooter LEFT WING nut.
        Take the word designated hitter out off baseball game also, on and on and on.

      • SF

        Marty, your the one that sounds like a complete Idiot!! you need to grow up! this has gone way to far, Hard Core Republicans created this mess, you can’t stand another persons point of view but your own, you take a look in the mirror.

      • tyler

        Palin supporter issues death threats for criticizing Palin, yet don’t blame the Palin supporters because they are innocent. Do you people even listen to yourselves or proof read what you write? And please, no death threats this time.

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  • alf

    this is not tied to the shooting. you guys are idiots. you are trying to manufacture the news. What connection to shooter? you morons.

  • Lola

    Agree with alf
    As for Palin, she is an idiot. Of all my friends and relatives who I refer to as “rational republicans” hate her and are embarrassed by her. My red-neck Arizona life-long republican uncle says every time he sees Palin on TV he wants to get his shotgun and shoot the TV.
    Just sayin’, do not judge all republicans by Palin, and not all republicans support or approve of Palin. I blame Washington GOP for having no balls, for being too afraid to lose the evangelical, rural vote to stand up to her and the ignorant Tea Party. They should have nipped this in the bud before they got so much power. If the GOP refused to back them or put them on their ticket, they would lose and go away. Look what happened in Alaska, the write-in candidate, the real republican won. GOP needs to grow a pair and take the party back!
    As for BudM, Jared’s MySpace page lists Palin as someone he admires, he was a wacko, but doubtful he was a leftie.

  • Chris Demille


  • Scott

    It’s a sad day when politians have to rely on weak minded extremists to get elected. Clearly, the shooter in AZ believed in the Patriot Movements idiology. A rightwing extremist group. Republican’s must admit all gun involved incidents are caused by some form of rightwing extremism.
    your vote should be based on the elected officials record, and not be based on guns, gays, or god!

    • Ab

      He also listened to Slipknot and espoused the “Truther” views espoused by Rosie O’Donnell. What does that prove? This kid was just plain nuts. If we were smart, we’d all be pushing for improved mental health services. Instead, we’re wasting our time pointing our fingers and shouting “my side’s better than yours” like a bunch of third-graders. We all need to grow up.

  • LMP

    What a bunch of BS. There is NO PROOF the nut in Tuscon ever watched/read Palin. Should we ban all Jody Foster movies because Hinkley shot Reagan???

  • stevenj

    I noticed that you do not punctuate your sentences. Your point is what???

  • phenarius

    As a very liberal retired lawyer, I would simply like to comment that I have listened to the two audio links above and there is not a threat, nor implied threat, in either of them.

    There is no doubt the audio clips are repugnant, disgusting and (in at least one case) factually wrong.

    However it is misleading for your Web site to characterize either of these clips as “threatening” because they are not. What they are is the type of speech that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was put enacted to protect.

    May it forever protect your rights and mine to express our opinions, however misguided others may think our opinions may be.

    Best regards,


  • RobertTusssey

    The shooter believed in nothing, simply a nut case. But all the political are using it to push their issues.
    I am 100% there are laws, rules, regulations or procedures on the books that had they been followed would have kept this guy from buying a gun legally.
    If as the local sheriff claimed there was so much hate speech and thing so dangerous why did he NOT send an officer to the event?
    If as this fine sheriff said ” Jerad made threat to others” was he not arrested. Why no criminals charges that might have kept him from getting a gun?

  • edelran

    Hey, phenarius. Are you trying to say “The price of freedom of speech is sometimes hearing things you don’t agree with?” Thought so. (Lawyers — paid by the word!)

  • Loel

    Anybody want Peace? It’s attainable if we are brave enough to act with Kindness and Compassion to All our fellow humans, every day. This takes far more COURAGE and GUTS than packing heat, which is motivated by FEAR. Have we forgotten FDR’s words that gave us all this strength way back when?: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”….So let’s all learn to be true Warriors of Kindness: Be Peacefully Fearless, that’s the only way to have True Happiness instead of all this anger-filled rhetoric that is destroying the moral fabric of our once-great nation.

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