Home Boston Press Releases 2011 Man Sentenced for Making Threats to Burn Churches and NAACP Headquarters
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Man Sentenced for Making Threats to Burn Churches and NAACP Headquarters

U.S. Attorney’s Office July 25, 2011
  • District of Massachusetts (617) 748-3100

BOSTON—A Medford man was sentenced in federal court today to 15 months in prison for mailing threatening letters to churches with predominantly African-American congregations and to offices of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Jeffrey Smith, 46, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro to 15 months in prison, three years’ supervised release, and was ordered to pay a $1,300 special assessment. Smith was also ordered to have no contact with two individuals to whom he had also sent threatening letters. Because Smith had been incarcerated on these charges since last July, he was released to the custody of the Department of Mental Health to provide necessary services.

Smith previously pleaded guilty to 11 counts of mailing letters threatening to burn down seven predominantly black churches and four NAACP headquarters in Mass., R.I. and N.C. Smith also pleaded guilty to two counts of sending letters to individuals in N.C. and Providence threatening to kill or injure them.

Smith was arrested on April 15, 2010. Between September 17-19, 2009, the Saint Paul American Methodist Episcopal Church in Cambridge, Mass. and the NAACP chapter in Roxbury, Mass. each received letters stating that the author did “not like African American or minorities in charge as supervisors of my security department at Novartis, nor I like them as President of the United States. For that I am going to burn down your offices just let you know how I feel. What right does some black person has the right to be in charge of me.”

Between September 22, 2009 and March 16, 2010, the FBI was notified of 29 additional computer generated letters, similarly packaged. Nine of the additional letters were addressed to churches and NAACP chapters in Medford, Mass., Charlotte, NC and Providence, RI. Each of the nine letters articulated a specific threat to burn down the church or NAACP chapter which received the letter. The letters referenced racial animus towards “Blacks and minorities,” and the election of President Barack Obama as justification for burning down the NAACP office. Two additional letters allegedly threatened to shoot the recipients “on site” should they enter Boston or Providence.

Smith admitted to agents during an interview that he composed and mailed all the threatening letters to the churches and NAACP using the name of a Securitas supervisor with whom he did not get along, or whom he believed had unfairly taken employment action against a co-worker who is black. (Securitas is the security management company for Novartis.)

United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation - Boston Field Division; Robert Bethel, Inspector in Charge of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; Cambridge Police Commissioner Robert C. Haas; Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco, Jr.; Providence Police Colonel Dean Esserman; and Chief Rodney Monroe of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (NC) Police Department made the announcement today. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney S. Theodore Merritt of Ortiz’s Civil Rights Enforcement Team and Public Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit.

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