Outraged by campaign ads for Illinois gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey, a Chicago man left a threatening voicemail at the politician’s office and then bragged to his friends on Snapchat about what he had done, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Scott Lennox, 21, of the 3300 block of North Lake Shore Drive, is charged with two felony counts of harassment and felony threatening of a public official.
Prosecutor Lorraine Scaduto said Lennox was with friends at a bar on Friday when a political ad came on TV, and it made him angry. He got into a “heated argument” with his friends about Illinois State Sen. Darren Bailey, the Republican candidate for governor.
At some point that evening, Lennox allegedly called Bailey’s office in Springfield on his cellphone and left the following message:
“I am going to skin Darren Bailey alive, making sure he is still alive. And I’m going to feed his f*cking family to him, as he is alive and screaming in f*cking pain.”
“He is a piece of white *ss racist sh*t and, honestly, if he doesn’t kill himself, I will. You know what. I know where he lives. I know where he sleeps. I know where his kids sleep. And I know the f*cking school he works at,” Lennox allegedly continued.
Lennox added that he would never shoot up a school, but Bailey is teaching “all this motherf*cking misinformation [and] is going to die. So, honestly, he should just kill himself before anything else happens.”
He went on to make statements about abortion, Scaduto said, but she did not detail those comments.
Lennox said he does not like Gov. JB Pritzker either, but he dislikes Bailey even more, according to Scaduto.
“So, f*ck him for being a piece of sh*t,” Lennox allegedly continued. “So, you know what? I am going to take anything and everything possible. You know what, I am going to make him scream. I am going to make him scream and suffer. Yeah, that’s right. So, he better kill himself. And, if he doesn’t, I am going to kill him.”
Bailey’s caller ID recorded Lennox’s phone number, and a staff member reported the message to the Illinois State Capitol Police and the Illinois State Police upon receiving it Monday, Scaduto said.
Law enforcement agencies responsible for protecting Bailey and his family requested extra resources upon learning of the threat. Bailey canceled his appearances for the day because of the message, according to Scaduto. She said Bailey listened to the message and agreed to the additional security measures.
Schools associated with Bailey and his family were also placed on “soft lockdown.”
Illinois Secretary of State police went to Lennox’s home on Monday, and he admitted to making the call, Scaduto said, but the agency deemed that he was not a credible threat, and its investigators did not arrest or transport Lennox.
But the Illinois State Police was conducting its own investigation, and they later took Lennox in for voluntary questioning, Scaduto said.
During a video-recorded interview conducted after being advised of his right to remain silent, Lennox allegedly told the officers that he made the call “for shock value to his friends,” Scaduto said.
She added that Lennox also unlocked his phone and allowed investigators to confirm that he called Bailey’s office. And, she said, Lennox even let the police review his Snapchat account.
There, investigators allegedly found exchanges between Lennox and four other people about the Bailey incident.
He wrote in one Snapchat message, “Dude, I’m a political terrorist. I sent a super ‘threatening’ – quotes for legal purposes – message to [Bailey] and now the cops are coming over to ‘ask me some questions.'”
“Dude. Three f*cking cops showed up man.” Lennox allegedly wrote to the first recipient. “Bro, they told me that now [Bailey] is on lockdown and now he has to be surrounded by security. 😂😂😂”
“I don’t feel bad about it at all,” Lennox allegedly concluded.
The recipient replied, “Not sending messages anonymously? Rookie mistake.”
“No, dude,” Lennox allegedly countered, “Normally I did, but I left a voicemail cuz I wanted him to know it was me. Dude, his entire family is on lockdown. I feel so f*cking accomplished.”
The recipient wrote back, “Now THAT’S how you should be participating in elections. If the officials aren’t afraid, something is wrong.”
“Haha. So f*cking true,” Lennox replied.
In a message to another Snapchat user, Lennox allegedly wrote, “THE COOK COUNTY INVESTIGATIONS SQUAD NOW CONSIDERS ME A POLITICAL TERRORIST. 😂 LITERALLY I HAD 3 COPS PULL UP TO ME AND F*CKING INTERROGATE ME FOR LIKE 30 MINUTES”
Reply: “OMG. That not good.”
In a third Snapchat exchange, Lennox said, “Yeah bro. I’m a f*cking terrorist. 😂”
Reply: “I don’t want to be associated with these texts in case the police investigate your phone, so please delete them.”
“Aight,” Lennox allegedly replied. “I was gonna anyway. Also, technically, it’s illegal for a legal division to go looking into a Snapchat without a warrant. Literally I know all the laws behind this sh*t.”
Reply: “OK. Of course you do. LOL.”
Scaduto reminded the courtroom that Lennox voluntarily allowed officers to review his Snapchat messages. Then, she detailed an exchange between Lennox and a fourth person.
In that message, Lennox explained what happened and said the police were coming to ask him questions.
“Dude WTF?” the recipient replied.
“I love this sh*t,” Lennox answered, according to Scaduto.
When the recipient asked who Darren Bailey was, Lennox allegedly explained, “It’s the butt f*cking motherf*cking person running for Illinois governor. He’s super racist. I literally made it so he and his entire family is on lockdown. I love it.”
Lennox has never been arrested before. He attended UIC and has worked for three years at a plant nursery in Old Town, Assistant Public Defender Suzin Farber said. Farber also pointed out that Lennox never went to any locations associated with Bailey and no one was injured.
“It’s clear,” Judge Susana Ortiz said at the end of Lennox’s bail hearing, “that the intent wasn’t merely just to leave some rambling message, but for this threat to be conveyed and have an impact on the public official.”
The social media exchanges “make it evident that there is certainly no remorse about this action and taking delight and pleasure in everything that flowed from this incident,” Ortiz continued. “It simply will not be tolerated.”
Ortiz also ordered Lennox to pay a $7,500 deposit toward bail to go home on electronic monitoring. She also ordered him not to contact Bailey, his family, or his staff.