KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Charges against an Independence, Missouri man accused of threatening a Jackson County judge have been upgraded.
The prosecutor’s office said this happened in part because the state alleges, he was motivated by the fact the judge was Black.
Michael DeBlois, 42, now faces two felonies charges of tampering with a judicial officer and harassment motivated by discrimination to frighten or disturb another person.
Court documents say he did this in part because at least one of the victims is Black.
Deblois, according to court records, left more than 14 voice mails that contained vulgar, explicit violent and at times racist language.
Forcing the judge to file for a protection order. In one voice mail DeBlois said: “I stalked the f****** courthouse. I followed people home. That’s not a threat, I’m just sharing what I’ve been doing for the past two weeks”
In a statement to FOX4 the Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said:
“No member of the public should be allowed to threaten a public official in the course of doing their duties. But today most public officials experience threats to their safety, simply for doing a job for the public,” she said.
She went on to say: “This hate-filled speech is not protected speech. It is a crime.”
Sentiments that Lauri Ealom, the director at the Kansas City Board of Elections knows all too well.
‘We had to put protocols in order that we had never had before we kind of lost our freedom.” Ealom said.
Part of those changes included new steel walls, panic buttons, blackout curtains and more.
“There’s people out there that don’t have much to do and they focus in on the negative and they look for people to target when you’re just merely doing your job…it’s frighten,” Ealom said.
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Ealom says these latest charges make her feel hopeful that someone is finally listening to them.
If convicted DeBlois could serve more than seven years in prison.