In Michigan, a 19-year-old man was released from prison after making over a dozen calls to the CNN headquarters in Atlanta with racist death threats.
The Washington Post reports Brandon Griesemer was arrested on federal charges on Jan. 19. The 19-year-old was charged with transmitting in interstate or foreign commerce a communication or communications containing a threat to kidnap or to injure the person of another. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.
Griesemer began his spree on Jan. 9, when he called the CNN dispatcher saying the they were, “fake news” (sound familiar?). He also claimed he was “coming to gun” the employees down. The threats took a racial turn as he concluded with “f**k you, f***king ni**ers”, before hanging up.
He continued the calls for two days. In September, Griesemer displayed the same behavior when he called a local mosque, and made racist comments towards Muslims. ABC News reports when asked about the incident by police, he explained he was “angry” at the time of the call.
While Brandon’s father, Mark Griesemer, told the Post his son “didn’t know what he was saying,” CNN issued a statement after his arrest.
“We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces, around the world, extremely seriously. This one is no exception.”
CNN statement: "We take any threats to CNN employees or workplaces, around the world, extremely seriously. This one is no exception. We have been in touch with local and federal law enforcement throughout, and have taken all necessary measures to ensure the safety of our people." https://t.co/NMhrPcQtSk
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 23, 2018
After calling three more times within the same day, CNN investigators traced the call back to his residence in Novi, Michigan, called the number associated with the father’s wireless account and asked to speak to the father. But instead, another man answered and identified himself as Brandon.
According to FBI Special Agent Sean Callaghan, who wrote the affidavit in support of the criminal charges, the investigator recorded the call and compared the voice to the one of the threatening call and determined the voices were a match.
After appearing in court, Griesemer was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. He didn’t give an apology, but he blamed his behavior on his issues with mental health. Some of the conditions of his release include continuing his employment as a part-time grocery store worker, avoiding all contact with victims and witnesses, restricting his travel to the Eastern District of Michigan, and he was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
His next court date is Feb. 9.