Seattle – A 37-year-old Lynnwood, Washington man indicted today by a federal grand jury for a hate crime and four counts of interstate threats, announced U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. Joey David George will be arraigned on the indictment on August 11, 2022. George remains detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, Washington.
“By law, the decision to charge a hate crime is appropriately deliberate – with consultation and approval from DOJ’s Civil Rights Division in Washington DC,” said U.S. Attorney Nick Brown. “In this case, the hate-filled threats to kill, based on race, are fittingly being prosecuted as a hate crime.”
According to records filed in the case, on July 19 and 20, 2022, George allegedly telephoned a grocery store in Buffalo, New York and threatened to shoot Black people in the store. In the second call George allegedly ranted about a “race war.” Law enforcement traced the phone number and identified George as the person who made the call.
In addition to the calls to Buffalo, George is charged in connection with a May 2022, call to a restaurant in San Bruno, California. In that call George allegedly threatened to shoot Black and Hispanic patrons in the restaurant. As the restaurant is a place of public accommodation, it is charged as a hate crime: Interference with a Federally Protected Activity.
Additionally, George is charged with making interstate threats to a business in Maryland, saying he intended to shoot Black people at the store. The fourth count of the indictment charges him with making interstate threats to bomb a restaurant in Connecticut.
The charges contained in the indictment 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.
Making interstate threats is punishable by up to five years in prison. Interfering with a federally protected activity is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
The case is being investigated by the FBI with the assistance of multiple local police departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Thomas Woods and Rebecca Cohen in consultation with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.