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Provo city council members harassed online following mask mandate

Comments range from insults to violent threats
Posted at 5:44 PM, Sep 22, 2020

PROVO, Utah — Provo City Council members admit they’re being harassed online after enacting a mask mandate in August.

Council Chair George Handley said some emails have escalated from cyber bullying to violent threats.

“It was like nothing I’ve ever seen,” said Handley. “Some people crossed over the line in a big way and made it very difficult for us, just uncomfortable.”

Handley declined to offer examples to FOX13, who said the emails are not fit to be seen by the public.

He said the hateful comments range from personal insults to violent threats that were enough to get police attention.

“I haven’t pressed any charges but I certainly would say people have been engaging in what is known in the law as electronic communication harassment. There is no question about that,” said Handley.

People upset over COVID-19 precautions went so far as to harass the family of council members. Councilperson Dave Harding declined an interview with FOX13, saying the harassment is emotionally draining.

Handley takes comfort believing the mask mandate was the right move for the Provo which is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 spike.

“If we don’t change things quickly and if we don’t change things substantially, we are in for a lot of hurt over the next couple months,” said Handley.