An Australian candidate for political office has quit the race after a photograph of him saluting a swastika carved into his lawn surfaced on the Internet.
Mark Ellis, a candidate who was standing for the anti-immigrant One Nation party, withdrew from the political race following the publication of the photograph dating to 2011.
Revelations that he had threatened a former employee of his company, Gatecrash Security, provided him with an additional reason to withdraw.
The political candidate resigned after Facebook messages emerged detailing his death threats to Mihalis Kalaitzidis, a 25-year-old student who worked for him. In a screenshot shared with Guardian Australia, Ellis reportedly wrote:
“F*** you. I’m gonna kill you. F*** you. You’re a c**t. Sorry—but you are. I wish you wern’t. I’m gonna f*** you up c**t.
You’re dead to me.
I know where you live.”
Kalaitdizis told Guardian Australia that he decided to go public with the death threats after he learned of Ellis’ run for political office. He said that Ellis had also sent him a threatening voice message.
Ellis, a former police officer, said that increased media scrutiny of his troubled past caused his family to receive threats. He also blamed “pathetic haters” for making a big deal out of the controversies.
Ellis had previously made headlines for being one of the infamous “Pinkenba Six,” a group of police officers who were charged with kidnapping three indigenous youths in 1994. The group abducted the boys from a Brisbane suburb and drove them to bushland seven miles away, where they were stripped of their shoes and forced to walk home barefooted.
In the widely publicized court case, a member of the Six allegedly threatened to cut off the boys’ fingers. They escaped punishment after the court ruled that the boys went voluntarily, prompting an outcry from Australia’s indigenous community.