A Pennsylvania county sheriff threatened to cut off the hands of a political campaign worker, pulled a gun on a newspaper reporter, and then intimidated underlings and other witnesses so they wouldn't confirm the encounters to journalists and investigators, police and prosecutors said yesterday. Beaver County Sheriff George David was arrested and charged with simple assault, witness intimidation, terroristic threats, reckless endangerment, official oppression, and obstructing the administration of law.
"Shake my hand. I'll cut your ... hands off and I'll eat them. I'll cut your hands off," David told a Democratic campaign worker whom the sheriff believed had spoken ill about him behind his back, according to the grand jury. At a different altercation, David allegedly threatened to shoot the owner of an online website, the Beaver Countian, along with one of its reporters. (Read the reporter's take on the arrest here.) David was allowed to remain free after his arraignment, but was ordered by a district judge to have no contact with the alleged victims, to surrender his blackjack, and not to carry a firearm.