Man pleads guilty to threatening Taylor woman due to her race

Man threatened to shoot up woman’s church

DETROIT – Ronald Wyatt, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to intentionally threatening physical harm to a Taylor woman to obstruct her free exercise of religion.

The Department of Justice said Wyatt admitted he targeted the woman because her race.

Wyatt admitted that on July 23, 2019, he used social media to send a message to the woman that said he would show up at her church with "my AK to put you and your [expletive] family down [expletive].”

The DOJ said Wyatt admitted he was acting intentionally to obstruct the woman’s freedom of religion, he threatened her because she is African-American and that he intended her to read his message as a threat.

“No American should face threats towards their life or the lives of their loved ones based on their race or religion” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “These actions are reprehensible. The Justice Department takes these matters very seriously and works to ensure that those who perpetrate these actions see justice under the law.”

“The defendant’s actions in this case are truly reprehensible,” said U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District of Michigan. “Although the First Amendment protects free speech, it doesn’t give anyone the right to obstruct the free exercise of religious beliefs by threatening violence or bodily harm. Prosecuting those who violate the civil rights of Michigan citizens is some of the most important work we do. This plea today is the first step towards justice for this innocent victim.”

Wyatt faces up to a year in prison.

About the Author:

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.