Former Omaha TV meteorologist Ronald G. Penzkowski, also known as Ron Gerard, was released Friday from the Douglas County Jail after posting 10% of his $100,000 bail, or $10,000.
Penzkowski was charged Thursday with making terroristic threats, a felony, and stalking, a misdemeanor. He is accused of sending threatening emails to Douglas County Health Director Adi Pour in which he referenced a 1919 lynching in Omaha and said she was next, court documents say.
Penzkowski, 57, waived his preliminary hearing and will stand trial. If convicted, he faces a maximum of three years in prison.
He is accused of sending 15 to 30 “disturbing” emails to Pour’s work email account because he was angry at her public health orders enacted to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Deputies arrested Penzkowski on Tuesday, about a week after Pour reported the emails to authorities.
Penzkowski served as spokesman and director of communications for Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle. He was a field operations director during Suttle’s election campaign and was named communications director when Suttle took office in June 2009.
Before that, Penzkowski worked as a meteorologist at Omaha TV stations KPTM and KETV. He left his post in the Suttle administration in October 2010.
World-Herald staff writer Alia Conley contributed to this report.