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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Tennessee

Monday, February 24, 2014

Former High School Football Player Sentenced For Making Racially Motivated Threats To African-American Coach

Jonathan Caine, 20, of Nashville, Tenn., was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Nashville to 36 months’ probation for a federal hate crime of making racially motivated threats to an African-American football coach at a local high school, announced David Rivera, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Tennessee. 

Caine, formerly a student and football player at the Nashville area high school where the victim works as a coach, was charged with a misdemeanor federal hate crime in November 2013 and pleaded guilty to interfering with a federally protected right.

“Threatening someone because of their race is a cowardly and despicable act,” said U.S. Attorney David Rivera.” “The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice are committed to ensuring that the rights of all persons are protected and to holding those accountable who would abridge those rights based simply on a person’s race.”

In August 2012 Caine made repeated anonymous threats to the victim and to other school officials by leaving phone messages which were laced with racial slurs and derogatory and violent threats based solely on the victim’s race and employment. A subsequent investigation by the FBI identified Caine as the caller.
In addition to the period of probation, the plea agreement requires, among other things, that Caine be placed on home confinement for 2 months; complete a comprehensive substance abuse and treatment program; and complete 520 hours of community service directed at needy minority communities.

This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Blanche Cook of the Middle District of Tennessee and Trial Attorney Nicholas Murphy of the Civil Rights Division.

Updated March 19, 2015