HOMESTEAD — Investigators have identified the person who posted a YouTube video suggesting that Homestead City Councilwoman Judy Waldman is committing suicide or being killed by a car.
Patrick A. Pascuzzo, a 53-year-old politically active Homestead man, told the South Florida Times that he posted the video in an attempt at political satire.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and Homestead police have identified Pascuzzo as the poster of the video.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation looked into the four-minute video, but dropped its investigation June 4 after the U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that no federal laws had been broken. The following day, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office opened its own criminal inquiry, which is ongoing, to determine if any local or state laws may have been violated.
Pascuzzo told the newspaper that he posted the video, named “Judy Waldman … Bye, Bye, Bye’’ in May using the screen name “AtashyDL.”
He said he did so because of his various disagreements with Waldman on city issues. He did not say who, if anyone, assisted him in the effort. Homestead police referred calls about their ongoing investigation to city hall.
Pascuzzo said no one else was involved in the video’s posting. Yet because there are several official photographs of Waldman at official city events, there is speculation that city staff may have provided some of the photos.
In response to questions about whether city employees may have played a part in the video’s creation, City Manager Mike Shehadeh said in an email to the newspaper, “This is an active investigation by several agencies including the city of Homestead Police Department. I can not comment, confirm or deny any thing related to this issue until the investigation is completed by all agencies, and a permission is granted to staff to comment. I do not want any thing to interfere or compromised (sic) the investigation.”
Waldman has said she sees the video as a death threat, and asked for the investigation by Homestead police and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office. Waldman declined comment about the identification of Pascuzzo as the video’s poster, citing the ongoing investigation.
“Dear Mr. Jones, it was always political satire,” Pascuzzo said in an email sent in response to questions from the newspaper. “…once I learned of the Councilwoman's interpretation of it, I moved to close the account. I realized the last photo was open to interpretation, whereas had I put a written narrative it would have said Patricia Fairclough red car and Angel Garrote blue car would run her over in the October primary.”
Pascuzzo said Fairclough and Garrote are two people he thinks may be political candidates in the upcoming November municipal elections, adding that they had no involvement in the incident.
He said, “I am not a spokesman for either potential candidate, this was merely a creative piece warning viewers of another way to look at the candidate. However, since I have learned the South Florida Times and others have posted it in various locations, it seems a bit odd if it was that offensive.”
Pascuzzo posted the video on YouTube May 5. It was listed in the satire category.
With the music of boy-band 'N Sync’s 2000 hit song, “Bye Bye Bye” playing in the background, the video begins with the words, “Farewell, So Long, Sayonara, Adios and Good Riddance To the suicide blonde” flashing across the screen.
Then, a photo of a blonde-haired woman holding a revolver to her head appears.
Next, there is a succession of photos of Waldman, who is also blonde, at various official city functions.
Some of the photos show Waldman with other elected officials and people from the local community at different events, including some that took place inside city hall.
One of the photos of Waldman shows her standing between former Homestead Mayor Roscoe Warren and former Councilman Norman Hodge, who are both black. That photo is followed by the words, “Her human OREO period.”
Other official photographs, along with more inflammatory remarks that flash across the screen, follow those pictures.
The video winds down with a scene of cars screeching their tires on a street, followed by a chalk drawing like the one police use to outline a dead body in the roadway.
After the South Florida Times published a report about the video on its website on Thursday, June 3, Pascuzzo removed it and closed his YouTube account.
At that time, Waldman, who holds Homestead’s city council seat number 6, said, “The video is very disturbing. It doesn’t discuss my political views at all and I take it very seriously as a death threat.”
Pictured above is Homestead City Councilwoman Judy Waldman.