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Media maligns Citizens Defending Freedom member in Nassau County, leading to death threat

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

*** Screenshots of the death threat and subsequent apology can be found by clicking the link below. Please note that the subject’s name has been redacted in consideration of his privacy:***

NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. — Citizens Defending Freedom’s Executive Director in Nassau County, Fla., who has been maligned in the local press for opposing gay pride events hosted in spaces where children are likely to be present, has now received a death threat from a local citizen.

Jack Knocke, who leads Nassau County's chapter of Citizens Defending Freedom, has been working to keep the adult content away from children.

The Fernandina Beach Pride Festival and Parade are scheduled for Saturday, June 10th. The parade will wind through the city and end at Central Park, right next to the city’s beautiful new children’s playground.

After media coverage of Knocke and Citizens Defending Freedom’s objections, Knocke received a death threat via Facebook Messenger last week.

“You finna act like you do,” a local man wrote to Knocke. “<Expletives> up for everybody that doesn’t think like you.. Well, keep thinking the way you do, your brain finna end up like JFK. Remember that.”

“Finna” is a slang term for the phrase “going to.”

The threat was reported to the Fernandina Beach Police Department and the matter now rests with the State Attorney. It remains unclear whether authorities have reached out to the subject.

“I’m not shocked to have received this threat,” said Knocke. “The way Citizens Defending Freedom has been treated by the local media here in Fernandina Beach is helping to radicalize people against us. They make us sound like ‘far-right’ lunatics. In reality, we simply do not want our children and grandchildren exposed to sexualization, inappropriate adult materials, and a drag queen performance in spaces designed for children.”

The man who sent the death threat later apologized to Knocke. He acknowledged that the media stories about Citizens Defending Freedom motivated him to send the death threat in the first place.

“Hey Mr. Knock [sic],” he said. “I just wanted to formally apologize for the threats. I had a few too many to drink and when I read about the LGBTQA+ stuff going on, I let my opinions and anger take over. I mean no harm. I just got mad.. And I’m sorry. From here I’ll leave you and you’ll never hear from me again. I hope we can put this behind us and move on as men.”

Kristen Huber, Citizens Defending Freedom’s Chief Communications Officer, says death threats are wholly unacceptable, but that the organization forgives the individual.

“At the end of the day, we are Christians and we believe in forgiveness,” said Huber. “We accept the apology of the young man who threatened Mr. Knocke, and after much consideration, we decided to redact his name so that he doesn’t face public backlash.”

“Let me be clear, though. Death threats stemming from sensationalism in media or intellectual disagreements are completely inappropriate and serve only to divide Americans further. The news should report fairly and reasonably, instead of seeking to radicalize people against one another. A grandfather’s life has been threatened and a troubled young-man’s life could forever be altered because of the gross negligence of the media in responsible reporting. We are Americans for goodness sake, we are better than this.”

Founded in 2021, Citizens Defending Freedom is a non-profit organization that strategically employs county-level chapters across America to help citizens defend their faith and freedom, all while fighting for transparency in local government. Currently, Citizens Defending Freedom has chapters in Florida, Georgia and Texas. The group is rapidly expanding its footprint, and expects to grow into one of America’s largest political nonprofits. Click here to learn more about Citizens Defending Freedom.



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