WASHINGTON – A Philadelphia woman, Kia Reid, pleaded guilty today to committing a federal hate crime by sending a note threatening violence to her Arab-American supervisor at work, in an attempt to interfere with the supervisor’s federally protected employment activity. The announcement was made jointly by Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan, for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 24, 2007.
The single-count information charges that during the early-morning hours of Monday, Oct. 2, 2006, Reid left an anonymous threatening letter in her supervisor’s office at the Sheraton Suites Hotel in Philadelphia. Reid had affixed words and phrases which appeared to be cut from publications, including the phrases “REMEMBER 9/11,” “you and your kids will pay,” “tie onto the fence,” “strategically planned,” and “death.”
Under the Department’s initiative to combat “backlash” crimes following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Division has investigated more than 750 backlash crimes involving violence and threats aimed at individuals perceived to be Arab, Muslim, Sikh, or South Asian. This initiative has led to numerous prosecutions.
“It is twisted to believe that threats or violence against innocent Arab or Muslim individuals somehow avenge the terrorist attacks of 9/11,” said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Our system of justice will not permit threats against innocents. The Justice Department will remain committed to vigorously prosecuting these crimes.”
Reid faces a maximum term of one year in prison, a one-year period of supervised release, and a $100,000 fine.
Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since 2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 165 defendants in 105 cases of bias-motivated crimes.
The case was investigated by the Philadelphia Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael Schwartz and Jeffrey Whitt and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney Eric L. Gibson.