Michigan man indicted for online threats to kill Jewish public officials

AG Dana Nessel claims Jack Eugene Carpenter wanted to kill her; Samantha Steckloff, a Democrat state lawmaker, says she has faced antisemitism ‘constantly’ since October

The state Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, January 25, 2023. (Al Goldis/AP)
The state Capitol in Lansing, Michigan, January 25, 2023. (Al Goldis/AP)

DETROIT — A man charged with threatening the lives of Jewish Michigan public officials on Twitter was indicted on a hate crime charge Thursday, a prosecutor said.

Jack Eugene Carpenter III, 41, of Tipton, Michigan, made threats against Jewish government officials in Michigan on the social media platform while he was in Texas last month, United States Attorney Dawn Ison said.

“Hate and bias-related crimes poison our communities and make people afraid simply because of who they are or what they believe,” Ison said. “We will not tolerate such actions, and we will prosecute those who engage in them to the fullest extent of the law.”

Carpenter’s post on Feb. 17 read, in part: “I’m heading back to Michigan now threatening to carry out the punishment of death to anyone that is Jewish in the Michigan govt if they don’t leave, or confess,” Ison said in a news release.

Carpenter is being held in detention pending trial, Ison said. He was arrested in Texas on Feb. 21.

A telephone message seeking comment was left Thursday evening for Carpenter’s lawyer, Jean Pierre Nogues.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel walks to her seat before the State of the State address, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Carpenter faces up to five years in prison if convicted, Ison said.

Carpenter has submitted a document in court challenging the federal government’s jurisdiction over him.

The FBI hasn’t publicly identified the state officials Carpenter threatened, but Attorney General Dana Nessel said Carpenter wanted to kill her. She described him as a “mentally disturbed man.”

A Michigan lawmaker who is Jewish has said she and two others who are Jewish were informed by the FBI about Carpenter’s arrest.

“You’re getting threats constantly. … It didn’t really affect me probably like it should because I’ve been dealing with extremism and antisemitism since October, November,” said Rep. Samantha Steckloff, a Democrat from suburban Detroit.

She said threats took off last year when Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West, made antisemitic comments in interviews and on social media. Ye has expressed some regret.

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