Jeremy Heath Higgins was indicted for threatening an African-American man at a Quinton, Alabama, restaurant, and for threatening another person who ordered Higgins to leave the restaurant due to his behavior, Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance for the Northern District of Alabama announced today.
Higgins, 28, was charged in a three count indictment returned yesterday by a federal grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The indictment charges him with one felony count and two misdemeanor counts of interference with a federally-protected activity. The indictment alleges that on June 14, 2013, Higgins approached and threatened an African-American man at the Alabama Rose Steakhouse because the man was present at the restaurant with a white woman. According to the indictment, another person ordered Higgins to leave the premises of the restaurant because of Higgins’ behavior toward the African-American man, after which Higgins allegedly shouted a threat to burn down the restaurant. The indictment further alleges that Higgins threatened the person who had ordered him to leave the restaurant by painting graffiti on the restaurant’s exterior and fence.
If convicted of the felony count of the indictment, Higgins could face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. For each of the misdemeanor charges, Higgins could face a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $200,000 fine.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin B. Mark of the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorney David Reese of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.