Page man arrested for urging killings of Navajo over virus

Page, Ariz. • Authorities in northern Arizona have arrested a man for writing a racist social media post accusing Navajo people of carrying the coronavirus and calling for their deaths.

The Page Police Department announced Tuesday that 34-year-old Daniel Franzen was taken into custody on suspicion of attempting to incite an act of terrorism.

Police say they received reports Monday of a Facebook post that urged people to use “lethal force” against the Navajo community because they were “100% infected” with COVID-19.

Investigators say they traced the post to Franzen. He was booked into Coconino County jail.

It was not known if Franzen had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. A police spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In a statement, Page police said any unlawful hate speech will be “aggressively investigated.” Authorities also said that anyone who makes retaliatory threats against the suspect would be subject to investigation as well.

The city of Page borders the Navajo Nation, the nation's largest Native American reservation.

The tribe has had more than 380 coronavirus cases and 15 deaths on its reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.