On Monday, prosecutors said that a man from Washington state had admitted to committing a hate crime after being accused of making threats to shoot Black people in phone calls to grocery stores. NBC News reports that Buffalo, New York-based food stores were among the many stores that Joey David George, 37, targeted.
A month had passed when Payton Gendron shot and killed ten Black individuals in an attack with racist overtones at a Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York. The U.S. attorney’s office for Western Washington claimed in a statement that on June 19, June 20, and June 21, George called a number of grocery stores and threatened to shoot Black customers.
According to a plea bargain, George called the Buffalo businesses and said he was nearby and carrying assault firearms. He also made a threat to shoot Black people. In one of these calls, George asserted that he could “pick people up” from a parking lot. These calls were placed from Washington state by the accused individual.
In addition to calling the grocery businesses, George reportedly threatened to call a California restaurant and a Maryland marijuana outlet. According to NBC News, the alleged guy called those businesses in May and September of 2021, respectively. Additionally, according to the prosecution, he allegedly used racial insults when calling the dispensary.
“The dispensary shut down and hired extra security, causing a loss of over $50,000,” the statement said. “On that same day George also called a Denny’s restaurant in Enfield, Connecticut and threatened Black patrons at the restaurant.”
George allegedly admitted to making interstate threats and interfering with a Federally Protected Activity after entering his plea, according to the prosecution. The second is considered a hate crime. Threats against the United States may land George in jail for five years. For the hate crime, he could also spend up to 10 years behind bars.
“Prosecutors have agreed to limit their sentencing recommendation to the high end of the federal sentencing guidelines range,” the statement said. “Judge Martinez is not bound by prosecutors’ recommendation and can impose any sentence up to the 10-year statutory maximum after considering the sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.” George’s sentencing date has been set for December 16.