A federal grand jury has indicted a man who lives on the Hyde Park/Dedham line on charges of sending racially offensive Facebook messages to a White woman who'd just announced her engagement to a Black man and of threatening the couple with dismemberment.
Stephen DeBerardinis, 45, was arrested today on one count of transmitting in interstate commerce threats to injure a person, one count of tampering with a witness and victim by intimidation, threats, and corrupt persuasion and one count of tampering with a witness and victim by harassment. He faces up to 28 years in prison if found guilty on the three charges. He is scheduled for arraignment at 3 p.m. on Monday.
DeBerardinis, who lives in his mother's house, was a prominent participant in a "Back the Blue" rally in front of the West Roxbury police station earlier this month, at which police had to pull him out of a scrum with protesters after he tried to punch some of them. He responded to Universal Hub coverage of the event, which included two photos of him, with e-mail threats to "COME FOR YOU HARD HAHAHAHAHAHA."
According to the indictment, filed yesterday in US District Court in Boston, DeBerardinis felt compelled on Jan. 6 to use Facebook messenger to send racial epithets to a White woman who had posted photos on Facebook of her and her newly engaged Black fiance. The indictment says that DeBerardinis did not know either the woman or the man, but saw the photos because he was Facebook friends with some of the woman's friends.
The woman showed the messages to her fiance, who used her Facebook Messenger account to try to call DeBerardinis. He did not answer the call, but replied a minute later in text: "DON'T FUCKING CALL ME!!!!! YOUR WHITE TRASH AND A DIRTY COCK SUCKER."
Not long after, he allegedly sent the woman another obscenity-laden message, to which she replied, "Don't worry, I'm reporting you to the cops." According to the indictment, he replied with:
The couple told him to leave him alone and that repeated that they were reporting him to police. DeBerardinis continued to message them:
"Read up more on me lol ... you will see how me and my crew burn niggers alive," followed by "And white whores like you well.... get rape and killed THAN we cut off body parts and mail them to your family lol."
Complete indictment (4.6M PDF).