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'Segway Jeremy' Ryan charged with stalking, threatening Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney
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'Segway Jeremy' Ryan charged with stalking, threatening Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney

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Veteran Madison protester and one-time candidate for U.S. representative Jeremy Ryan has been charged with making terrorist threats and stalking Dane County Sheriff Dave Mahoney.

Ryan threatened to release personal information on Mahoney and his family unless an inmate in the Dane County Jail was moved from segregation by 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday in Dane County Circuit Court.

“This demand is unrelated to BLM and I am not acting in a capacity with them,” Ryan wrote on Facebook. “This is personal because of the battle I had and how horribly Dave Mahoney uses segregation.”

He also called on hundreds of protesters to harass Mahoney’s family home, the complaint states.

Ryan is charged with felony counts of stalking and making terrorist threats, and misdemeanor counts of computer message threats and telephone harassment.

He allegedly sent text and Facebook messages to Mahoney in addition to calling his work, cell and home phones. According to the complaint, he posted on Facebook a message directed at Mahoney that read: “But you’ve left me no choice and I’m a man of my word. ... Tick Tick Tick ... Kaboom ... Doxx target hit!!! Sincerely, your favorite nuclear terrorist!”

Known as “Segway Jeremy” for often using a Segway around Capitol Square, Ryan finished fifth in a six-way Republican primary to replace then-U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan in August 2018.

The next month, he was arrested for mail-ordering radioactive material from an undercover FBI agent. Prosecutors alleged Ryan had planned to use it to kill someone, while he said he intended to use the polonium-210 to commit suicide.

After spending 16 months in the Dane County Jail waiting for a trial, Ryan was placed on supervised release. In February, he testified in U.S. District Court that he became depressed following his run for office, and continued struggling with mental health during his incarceration.

Mahoney’s experience with Ryan dates to the Act 10 protests at the state Capitol in 2011, though he’s never felt threatened by him before, according to the complaint. While he was incarcerated at the county jail, Ryan sent Mahoney notes demanding his release and threatening to sue him.

Mahoney told investigators that he saw Ryan’s recent actions as “a direct threat, when evidenced by the posts to release my family information, and with what I’ve seen occur by the violent element of some protesters recently.”

The complaint states that Ryan’s “self-reference as a nuclear terrorist, statement of ‘Ka Boom!!’, and his public call to have hostile people go to Sheriff Mahoney’s private residence to harass and intimidate him and his family members” factored into the charging decision.

“The ultimatum to release (name omitted) out of segregation demonstrated Ryan’s intent to cause an interruption or impairment of the governmental operations of the Dane County Jail,” the complaint states.

Ryan was on a federal terrorism watch list prior to his arrest on Thursday near the state Capitol, according to the complaint.

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Howard Hardee is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has written extensively about government, natural disasters and forest health in northern California.

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