Take "Mabus" death threats seriously
  • Petitioned Montreal Police

This petition was delivered to:

Montreal Police
RCMP

Take "Mabus" death threats seriously

    1. Kyle VanderBeek
    2. Petition by

      Kyle VanderBeek

      San Francisco, United States

  1.  
  2.   
August 2011

Victory

After nearly 5,000 people signed the petition calling on the Montreal Police Department to investigate the thousands of death threats issued by Dennis Markuze,  the Montreal Police have responded via Twitter that the case is officially open.  

Markuze has been threatening atheists, scientists, writers, public figures and their friends for more than a decade under the pseudonym of “David Mabus.”  As the threats began to increase in intensity and frequency, his victims decided it was time to take action.  

Kyle VanderBeek, a San Francisco-based engineer with Change.org, launched the campaign after he became a target of Mabus’ attacks.  He cites a blog entry written by Montreal-based journalist William Raillant-Clark about Mabus as the inspiration for his petition on Change.org.  “I started the petition hoping to gather together the affected community and unite our voice,” states VanderBeek.  

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and attention from other prominent bloggers spurred an incredible amount of interest which overwhelmed the Montreal Police.  “The deluge of signatures on the petition caused the Montreal Police to tweet several times, asking us to stop.”

Local news soon picked up the case and spread it to wider national and international news outlets.  Along the way, computer security expert Tim Farley joined the effort, gathering evidence and coordinating communication between targets, various local police departments across the US, and the Montreal police.  A detective then began contacting several targets who had filed police reports to gather information and evidence for the case.  

“I'm pleased that the petition had its desired effect,” says VanderBeek.  “Combining the petition, a local stake-holder, and media coverage has resulted in attention from police on this matter.  It has even gotten the attention of Mabus himself, who has been quiet since Friday.  We will now leave the matter in the capable hands of the Montreal Police and legal authorities.”

So thank you and congratulations to the nearly 5,000 supporters who decided enough was enough with Mabus’s death threats.  Now he has the opportunity to be brought to justice and to stop the senseless and violent threats.  

For several years Dennis Markuze has harassed and threatened scientists, writers, public figures, atheists, and their friends under the pseudonym "David Mabus". While this was previously a minor annoyance, the intensity and frequency of his communications have increased.

I believe these threats constitute a violation of Canada's statutes regarding "uttered threats".

These "Mabus" attacks now include hundreds of Twitter accounts (used and discarded as they are reported). He has threatened young boys and girls as well as adults (including Rys Morgan, 16, who was acknowledged by some in the science community for exposing a dangerous quack medical treatment). In fact, anyone who associates with scientifically and skeptically minded people like PZ Myers, Phil Plait, James Randi, Brian Dunning or Michael Shermer is likely to become a target for unsettling rants and threats to their life and well-being.

Markuze has even gone so far as to attend meetings of such people, including attending the American Atheist Convention in October 2010, held Montreal.

It is time for the police to take his threats seriously. The problem must be addressed before it escalates beyond Internet bullying and veiled threats to become something worse.  Please make a public statement whether Mr. Markuze has violated Canada's uttered threats laws (criminal code section 264).

Update: The RCMP has responded to my inquiry, declining to act:

"In the province of Quebec, the type of investigation you are requesting in your correspondence falls under the jurisdiction of provincial and municipal police agencies. We will therefore transfer your request to the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (Montreal city police). We are aware that the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal  has started an investigation on the activities of Markuze. We are confident that they will handle your complaint in a professional manner."

We await an official response from Montreal Police on whether they consider the constant stream of threats to be criminal.

Important Reminder: Please do not engage with or contact the accused.  That is the job of the police.  This petition is purely to demand action and a public statement from Montreal Police or other relevant authorities.  Thank you.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. "Dave Mabus" diagnosed and in treatment

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      This is the best outcome we could hope for: Dennis Markuze is now in treatment and getting the help he needs.

    2. Montreal's 'Mabus' faces 16 charges for online threats

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Dennis Markuze has been charged and is now receiving a psychological evaluation.

    3. Prolific Web Troll Arrested, With Help From Atheists on Twitter

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      NY Times blog, The Lede, gives the story of the Mabus arrest our first large US coverage!

    4. Montreal Police acknowledge that they are on the case

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Via their Twitter account @SPVM the Montreal Police Department have publicly acknowledged that they have a case open and are working on it!

    5. Dennis Markuze/David Mabus must have uttered a straw ...

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Blogger Greg Laden addresses some details and talks about how the story of Mabus finally reached a tipping point.

    6. Présumées menaces : le SPVM inondé de plaintes

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      French-language coverage on MSN.

    7. Thousands complain about Montreal man’s Internet threats

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      More great coverage all over Canadian press today. The police are now unable to ignore the threats.

    8. Montreal police spammed into submission

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      The Montreal Gazette has posted a follow-up with more details on the types of attacks Mr. Markuze has used over the years.

    9. Montreal police investigating alleged threats made against atheists

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Following a deluge of thousands of complaints from around the world, Montreal police have launched an investigation into a St. Laurent man accused of making hundreds, if not thousands of deadly threats.

    10. Montreal police start probe of Twitter threats

      Sarah Ryan
      Campaigns Strategist and Coordinator

      Bombarded with "a few hundred" screen shots of various Twitter threats - and by more than 3,200 email complaints from all over the world so far this week - Montreal police said Wednesday they have begun a criminal investigation.

    11. Reached 4,000 signatures
    12. Newspaper reports looking promising

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      I've heard from several people to indicate that Canadian newspapers may be picking up the story, putting further pressure on the police and RCMP. Thanks again for participating. Click the link to see what my TweetDeck has looked like all day...

    13. Reached 3,000 signatures
    14. Time to institutionalize Dennis Markuze

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Widely known science and atheism blogger PZ Myers weighs in on the issue, calling for Markuze to be handled after years of complacency from the authorities.

    15. Reached 2,000 signatures
    16. We have their atttention!

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      The Montreal Police tweeted this! Thank you to all who have signed.

    17. Reached 1,500 signatures
    18. What constitutes a criminal threat?

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Via a comment in the r/skeptic reddit posting for this petition, this article outlines what constitutes a threat according to the Canadian criminal code.

    19. Mabus is commenting

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      I apologize to those being threatened and abused by what appears to be Mabus himself in the comments of this very petition. I will work with Change.org to get those cleaned up according to their TOS.

    20. Reached 250 signatures
    21. Demand that Montreal Police take death threats against atheists seriously

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Popular science and atheist blogger Jen McCreight has blogged about this petition and her experiences with Mabus.

    22. Mabus Screenshot Gallery

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Think this isn't a dangerous variety of threats? Have a look at this link and see Mabus (under various pseudonyms, but always the same M.O.) threaten to chop of heads (among other things). A Facebook login may be required to view the photos.

    23. Reached 100 signatures
    24. Already 50 Signatures!

      Kyle VanderBeek
      Principal Engineer

      Thanks to everyone who has re-tweeted, shared and posted! 50 signatures already means the Montreal Police can't ignore us. Keep going, and use this handy shortened link if you'd like: http://chn.ge/nbomhp

    25. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Nhoj Morley LAKE ORION, MI
      • about 3 years ago

      Denny and I go way back. We’ve been on a first name basis for years. He posts, I delete. We would do it for hours. He has promised numerous beheadings for me, and has threatened to murder my family. He enjoyed using bold type- “Nhoj, you will be tortured and executed.”

      He once started a thread called, “Does Nhoj deserve to live?” Fortunately, most of my fellow posters answered in the affirmative.

      We had a few live exchanges and for a while I would phone him whenever he was logged in (in any of 500 different screen names). He never answered. Now I know why.

      I was shocked by how many sites he has attacked. I thought we had a specail relationship at Project Reason but now I see that I was just one tortured moderator amoung dozens or even hundreds.

      So long, Mr. Markuze… I hope you enjoy the ice cream.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Marco Bartz CHELTENHAM, AUSTRALIA
      • about 3 years ago

      Here is an example of his crazy ramblings.

      http://thethinkingatheist.com/forum/Thread-new-rulership-for-SCOFFING-BOURGEOIS-ATHEIST-PIGLETS

      The main concern with this guy is his mental state. Is he a real threat to society?

      Sometimes is good to be proactive with this stuff before it gets out of hand!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • DavId Ely WEAVVILLE, NC
      • about 3 years ago

      Imagine the public relations nightmare that will ensue if this man who creeps ever closer to the edge of (criminal insanity) ever does commit a violent crime. If you continue to claim helplessness or lack of interest, the consequences will far outweigh the convenience of inaction now.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Troy Deck AMBLER, PA
      • about 3 years ago

      I can't believe that such a clearly insane, criminal individual such as this has been allowed to spew his threatening and dangerous vitriol for so many years. This is a fine example of apathetic law enforcement and needs to be rectified by the administration of justice.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Brent Jernigan LANCASTER, OH
      • about 3 years ago

      Should it really have to take a body count before the authorities take the threat posed by this person seriously? Death threats are not and should not be protected speech.

      Please take action that equates to something more than offering condolences to the survivors, after Markuze snaps.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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