A Brooklyn-based journalist recently became the target of the Feuerkrieg Division, an ethnically motivated violent extremist group, after reporting on the group’s activities.
The FKD organization is known for encouraging attacks on racial minorities, the Jewish community, the LGBTQ community, the U.S. government, journalists and critical infrastructure.
The group’s leader — Nicholas Welker, 31, of San Jose, California, also known as ‘King ov Wrath’ — is currently facing the charge of conspiring to make threatening statements.
“As alleged, Welker used threats of violence in an effort to stop a journalist from reporting on the white supremacist hate group that he led,” said Breon Peace, attorney for the eastern district of New York.
“He sought to quell freedom of expression and to intimidate and instill fear in a journalist and the journalist’s employer — a well-known news media organization. We will not hesitate to prosecute those who threaten the core values on which our society was founded, including freedom of the press,” Peace continued.
Welker, who is also known online as ilovehate5150 and DankTree2316, published several online threats that included an image with a gun aimed at the journalist’s head with the words “Race Traitor” over the journalist’s eyes and stated, “Journalist F--- Off! You Have Been Warned.”
The threat highlighted that the journalist “works as a reporter” at a news media company and is “responsible for stalking our boys for information.”
After Welker posted the threat to an online forum, Welker’s two minor-aged co-conspirators, who are also members of the white supremacist group, tweeted the threat directly at the journalist’s twitter handle, in the hope that the journalist would see the death threat and stop reporting.
The online communications occurred between August 2021, and March 2022. Welker was arrested on March 21, 2023 in San Jose.
“As alleged, Mr. Welker and those he encouraged attempted to silence a journalist with threats of violence. Freedom of both speech and the press are integral to our nation, and we will not allow it to be restricted through violence or intimidation. Today’s action serves as a reminder to anyone willing to attack these rights — the FBI will do everything in our power to fulfill our mission of protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” said Michael Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge with the FBI.
Welker’s arrest is a result of investigative work conducted by the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force, which consists of investigators and analysts from over 50 federal, state and local agencies, including the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.
The accused appeared in federal district court in the Northern District of California in San Jose earlier this week. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
If convicted, Welker faces a maximum sentence of five years’ imprisonment.