Jackson County prosecutors enhance charges in case of racist threats against Black judge
Jackson County prosecutors on Wednesday enhanced criminal charges brought against an Independence man who allegedly left a series of racist, profane voicemails for a judge that contained racial slurs and other threats.
Michael A. Deblois, 42, was arrested and charged Tuesday with tampering with a judicial officer and harassment, both felonies. On Wednesday, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced the harassment charge was enhanced to a Class D felony under a state law that factors race as a motivator.
In a statement Wednesday, Baker said no one “should be allowed to threaten a public official in the course of doing their duties.”
“While this type of anger is not a new phenomenon in our culture, it cannot be tolerated. This hate-filled speech is not protected speech. It is a crime,” Baker said.
If convicted, Deblois faces a maximum sentence of 7 years in prison on each count.
Prosecutors allege Deblois, who is white, left the voicemails on Tuesday and Wednesday. The recordings, reviewed by investigators with the Jackson County Sheriff’s department, contain several uses of the N-word, including references to the judge, whose name is redacted from court documents but who is identified as Black by authorities.
In the recordings, authorities allege Deblois left his full name and phone number. He also made comments of an “eye for an eye” and other threatening language that was the basis for the criminal charges, according to court documents.
Excerpts cited by authorities in charging documents include a volley of profanities surrounding complaints of “reverse discrimination,” “government corruption” and his “fraudulent homeowners association.” They also mention home foreclosure.
“It’s not fun when people draw their own conclusion just outside the court of law. I’m not doing anything to a single member of your [expletive] staff that you didn’t do to me first. Eye for an eye, makes you wonder what I do have planned,” Deblois allegedly said in one recording.
The judge filed for a protective order on Tuesday, citing fear of the threat of violence and possible stalking.
Deblois was being held in the Jackson County jail without bond as of Wednesday.