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A Kirkland, Washington resident was arrested on a criminal complaint charging three counts of making interstate threats, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Annette L. Hayes. JALEEL TARIQ ABDUL-JABBAAR, 46, was arrested this morning at his home without incident, and will make his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle at 2:00 p.m. today. According to the complaint, ABDUL-JABBAAR made repeated threats to kill an officer formerly with the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, members of the officer’s family and other law enforcement officers.
“We are fortunate to live in a country where the right to speak out about current events and disagree with our government is protected by the highest law of the land. Our freedom of speech does not, however, extend to making threats to kill or injure law enforcement officers,” said Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes. “Although we each have the right to express our views about the decision reached by the state grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, we cannot tolerate violence or threats of violence that are intended to intimidate, and ultimately silence debate. Such threats are crimes, and the individuals who make them must be held to account.”
According to the criminal complaint, ABDUL-JABBAAR started posting threats on his Facebook page shortly after the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, through late November. ABDUL-JABBAAR posted various statements about killing police officers and traveling to Ferguson, Missouri. Among others, ABDUL-JABBAAR stated: “We need to kill (the officer) and anything that has a badge on.” ABDUL-JABBAAR also used Facebook communications to attempt to acquire a firearm.
Making interstate threats is punishable by up to five years in prison.
The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Todd Greenberg.