Former Kentucky State Prison Sergeant Convicted of Violating Civil Rights of an Inmate and Obstruction of Justice
On, Feb. 27, 2017, Michael John Harris, 34, was sentenced to six months imprisonment and one year of supervised release for making telephonic threats to two medical clinics in Minneapolis, Minnesota, that provide reproductive health services.
On March 2, 2016, Harris pleaded guilty to two violations of 18 U.S.C. § 248(a)(1). During his plea hearing, Harris admitted that on May 12, 2014, he made telephonic threats to two different health clinics in Minneapolis that provide reproductive health services. In a call to the first clinic, Harris threatened to kill the recipient of the call with his bare hands and to cut the recipient’s head off with a band saw. In a call to the second clinic, Harris told the recipient that he was going to kill the recipient and the recipient’s co-workers, and that he was going to travel to the clinic and shoot everyone present. Harris further admitted that he made these threats because the recipient was and has been, and in order to intimidate the recipient and any other person from, obtaining and providing reproductive health services.
“This defendant threatened these clinic workers with death and brutality,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department is pleased that the defendant accepted responsibility and will face consequences for his actions. The Department is committed to vigorously enforcing the civil rights of all individuals in this country.”
“The violence threatened by this defendant against health care workers is unacceptable,” said United States Attorney Andrew M. Luger of the District of Minnesota. “This sentence should serve as a reminder to individuals who would engage in such threats that the federal government will prosecute these crimes.”
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Risa Berkower of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and Assistant U.S. Attorney Manda M. Sertich of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota.