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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Quinton Man Indicted For Threatening African-American Man And Another Person At Restaurant

BIRMINGHAM – A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted a Quinton man for threatening an African-American man at a restaurant in the Walker County town, and for threatening another person who ordered Higgins to leave the restaurant because of his behavior, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels, head of the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Division.

A three-count indictment filed in U.S. District Court charges JEREMY HEATH HIGGINS, 28, with one felony count and two misdemeanor counts of interference with a federally protected activity.  The indictment charges Higgins with approaching and threatening an African-American man on June 14, 2013, at the Alabama Rose Steakhouse because the man was at the restaurant with a white woman.  According to the indictment, another person ordered Higgins to leave the premises of the restaurant because of his behavior toward the African-American man, after which Higgins shouted a threat to burn down the restaurant. The indictment further charges that Higgins threatened the person who ordered him to leave the restaurant by painting graffiti on the restaurant’s exterior and fence.

"This case reaffirms our commitment to prosecuting hate crimes and holding people responsible for conduct motivated by racial animus," Vance said.

If convicted of the felony count, 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.  

The FBI is investigating the case and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Beardsley Mark and Justice Department Civil Rights Division Trial Attorney David Reese.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.  

Updated March 19, 2015