A former Massachusetts deputy was indicted Wednesday for allegedly calling on more than a hundred law enforcement officers to join him in burning down a courthouse after reportedly losing a custody battle.
Joshua P. Ford, 42, of Kingston, Mass., was indicted on three counts of interstate transmission of a threatening communication, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts announced. Ford, who served as a deputy for the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office between about 2009 and 2017, is accused of sending 12 emails to a total of about 140 people, almost all Massachusetts law enforcement officers, on March 13, 2023, stating that there "is no more justice system anymore just WAR."
"I am calling on all able-bodied officers my brothers in blue to suit up for a fight," Ford wrote, according to court documents, before calling on officers to arm themselves with firearms and armored vehicles. "Tomorrow we burn down the Plymouth County Court house to the ground."
Prosecutors say the emails included a link to a video Ford posted on YouTube and British video hosting service BitChute. According to the indictment, the video, titled, "War Has Been Declared F***’em All," is an 11-minute recording of Ford in a kitchen, where he speaks directly to the camera.
According to the Boston Herald, which viewed the video, Ford explains that the court had taken away his daughter and given custody over to his either ex- or estranged wife.
He reportedly names her in the video despite also saying that she has a restraining order against him and that he’s not allowed to say her name.
"We got no law anymore, so what are we going to do? We’re going to f---ing fight," he says, according to the Herald. "They want to fight for this country. I’m going to fight."
"I’m going to level the f---ing Plymouth Courthouse and you are going to do it with me. I don’t care if I’m going alone," he adds, the newspaper says. "I’m going to roar in there at a hundred f---ing miles per hour in my Shelby GT 500 and I am going to f---ing burn that f---ing place to the ground, and I’m going to get justice."
Prosecutors said that in the video, Ford’s "principal assertion is that the justice system is corrupt, and makes various statements about police officers, correctional officers, court officers, a judge, a prosecutor, defense attorneys and others."
Ford allegedly expressed particular contempt for Middlesex Sheriff’s officers, about whom he says, "And guess what? I’m f---ing coming. I’m f---ing coming, and hell’s f---ing coming with me. I’m going to f---ing get every last one of you mother------s. I know where you work. And I am coming to get you."
Ford also allegedly threatened to "break the arms and legs of every court officer" and to "kill" court security officers working in the Plymouth County Courthouse.
Prosecutors say he allegedly exhorted other law enforcement officers to assist him by bringing guns, gasoline, C-4, armored personnel carriers and SWAT teams to his confrontation, which he scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on March 14. The Herald reported Ford arranged the plot for the same day he was scheduled back in court.
Instead, local law enforcement arrested Ford on March 13 after the emails were sent.
Ford is currently in state custody and will appear in U.S. District Court in Boston at a later date. Prosecutors say the charges of interstate transmission of a threatening communication each provide for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
A day before his arrest, Ford uploaded one other video decrying the death of former Middlesex Sheriff James DiPaola, blaming "corrupt officials," according to the Herald.