Georgia man arrested for threats against U.S. senator from S.C.

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the only African-American Republican serving in the Senate. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Georgia man who an FBI agent said threatened to kill U.S. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, then called back and left his name has a long history of threats against other members of Congress, the NAACP and news organizations.

 

Jason Kenneth Bell of Cochran, Georgia, called Scott’s office on Oct. 23, saying “I am going to kill that “m—- f—-” because Bell said the black senator blamed white people and neo-Nazi groups for problems in America, FBI agent Amanda Risner said in a sworn statement.

The worker in Scott’s office who answered the phone tried to get information from Bell, but he ended the call. He then called back 15 minutes from the same number and gave his name. Since then, Bell has left nearly a dozen more threatening voice messages, Risner said.

Bell, 40, was arrested last week and charged with interstate transmission of threat to injure. Risner said he has a history of threatening calls to members of Congress, often praising Dylann Roof, the white man on death row for killing nine black church members in a racially charged attack in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015.

Before the Scott threats, Capitol Police in Washington called Bell, who told them he was “not violent and was only trying to have a conversation,” Risner wrote.

Bell, whom jail records list as white, said he was trying to get lawmakers to understand the “untruths of black victimization.” He said he had been making calls for six years and would continue until he was understood, Risner said.

Police in Washington sent local deputies to the home that Bell shares with his mother in August, where they found him sitting on his porch, yelling into his phone. The FBI said Bell also has threatened to kill himself in calls to Congress, but won’t because of his mother.

Bell also has threatened TV stations, and court records in DeKalb County, Georgia, indicate he still faces a state charge of making terroristic threats. Risner said Bell made threatening phone calls to CNN in March, although those threats weren’t detailed and the FBI didn’t say which member of Congress Bell had threatened before.

Bell’s lawyer didn’t return an email seeking comment and Bell’s phone numbers went unanswered Wednesday. Bell remains in jail awaiting a Friday court hearing in federal court in Macon, Georgia.

 

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Thu, 11/23/2017 - 17:28

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