Joey David George, a Lynnwood resident (a city close to Seattle), pleaded guilty Monday to making threats to shoot Black people. George, 37, called multiple grocery stores in Buffalo, New York one month after 10 people were killed in a racist attack at a Tops friendly market there in May.
The U.S. attorney’s office for Western Washington released a statement saying that George called numerous grocery stores on June 19, June 20 and June 21 and threatened to shoot Black customers. Three stores in particular are named in a plea agreement.
In addition, George also made similar calls to a California restaurant in May as well as to a cannabis dispensary in Maryland last year. When he called the stores in Buffalo, George stated that he was in close proximity and had assault rifles on him which he planned to using on Black customers.
During one call, George threatened to“pick people off” from a parking lot. However, he was in Washington state when he made the calls. On Monday, he pleaded guilty to a count of interference with a federally protected activity, which according to prosecutors is a hate crime. George also pleased guilty to a count of interstate threats.
A statement from the Justice Department reads:
“In his plea agreement George admitted he made threatening telephone calls from at or near his home in Lynnwood, to grocery stores in Buffalo, New York, restaurants in California and Connecticut, and a marijuana dispensary in Maryland. Sentencing is scheduled in front of U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez on Dec.16. In his plea agreement George agrees to pay restitution to the impacted businesses. Making interstate threats in punishable by up to five years in prison. Interfering with a federally protected activity is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.”
Even though George could face up to a decade in prison, prosecutors agreed to restrict their sentencing recommendation to the high end of the federal sentencing guidelines range.
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