U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Neo-Nazi leader charged with sending death threats to New York journalist

Incident Details

March 21, 2023

The former leader of neo-Nazi group Feuerkrieg Division was arrested on March 21, 2023, and charged with making death threats against a New York-based journalist who was reporting on the extremist group.

The FKD is an “international racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist” group, according to the complaint, and encourages attacks on racial minorities, the Jewish community, the LGBTQ community, journalists, the U.S. government and critical infrastructure.

A Justice Department press release alleges that in August 2021 Nicholas Welker, as the then-leader of FKD, and multiple co-conspirators created and shared a propaganda image threatening a journalist based in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The journalist’s name and outlet were redacted from the public complaint. FKD was disbanded in April 2022, according to the Justice Department.

The image, included in the redacted complaint, has a picture of the journalist with the words “Race Traitor” over their eyes and a gun pointed to their head. It is captioned with “Journalist fuck off! You have been warned,” and says the reporter is “responsible for stalking our boys for information.”

The image was posted in a chat group used by FKD members and on Twitter, with multiple co-conspirators directly sending it to the journalist, asking if he’d seen their latest work.

Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, condemned Welker’s alleged crimes in the DOJ press release.

“[Welker] 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.”

Welker was charged with conspiring to transmit threatening communications, and faces up to five years in prison if convicted. He has not yet entered a formal plea.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].