Overland Park police said Tuesday they are aware that a Kansas Civil Air Patrol commander has been identified as the person who sent a threatening message to a Johnson County lawmaker on social media.
Earlier this month Jonathan Holder, commander of a Civil Air Patrol squadron based in Emporia, posted a Facebook comment saying Rep. Stephanie Clayton, an Overland Park Republican, should “swing from a tree.”
Holder said he made the comment and stood by it, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported on Tuesday. Holder did not immediately respond to messages from The Star seeking comment.
Holder wrote the comment under a Facebook post Clayton shared about a bill she introduced that would permanently exempt Kansas colleges from having to allow concealed handguns on campus.
Holder responded with the comment “This B---- needs to swing from a tree for violating her oath.”
Clayton alerted Capitol Police and the Overland Park Police Department. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
An Overland Park police detective is investigating, according to Officer John Lacy, a spokesman for the department. The detective was already aware of the commenter’s identity and is doing follow-up work on the investigation, Lacy said.
The Civil Air Patrol is a federally funded civilian auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, chartered by Congress as a volunteer group tasked with disaster relief, search and rescue, and other emergency services.
Its budget is overseen by the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department. On Tuesday Katie Horner, a spokeswoman for the department, said the Adjutant General’s Department “does not condone the statements posted by Mr. Holder.”
However, that department does not control operations of the Civil Air Patrol.
Instead, any disciplinary matters in Holder’s squadron would be handled by the national Civil Air Patrol headquarters at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala.
The Adjutant General’s Department notified the Civil Air Patrol of Holder’s comments immediately on becoming aware of them, Horner said.
Messages left with the Civil Air Patrol headquarters were not immediately returned Tuesday afternoon.