Holland man charged in alleged death threats against Whitmer, Pelosi, Biden

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
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A 21-year-old Holland man was charged with making a terrorism threat after he allegedly made death threats against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Joe Biden. 

Joshua Docter turned himself in Tuesday and was arraigned in Ottawa County District Court on two 20-year felonies: One count of threat of terrorism and one count of using a computer to commit a crime, according to a statement from Attorney General Dana Nessel. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation initiated the investigation and the Michigan State Police eventually took over the inquiry into threats Docter is alleged to have posted in January on iFunny.

The posts on the social media platform indicated Docter would shoot and kill Biden, Pelosi and Whitmer, Nessel said. 

Docter said his actions "would 'be the catalyst' for a new American revolution," Nessel said in a statement. "Docter also had information on how to make a bomb and where to find the necessary materials on his smartphone," the statement said.

“I appreciate the thorough investigative work by the FBI and Michigan State Police on this case, and I consider it another excellent example of showcasing the dedication that those working in law enforcement have to protecting the public," Nessel said. 

State and federal officials have authorized multiple charges related to threats against public officials over the past year, many of them linked to disagreements over politics, said attorney Matthew Schneider, former U.S. Attorney for Michigan's Eastern District. 

"Social media platforms are making it so much easier for people to try to hide behind a computer screen and make threats," said Schneider, whose office helped bring charges in a kidnapping case against Whitmer last year.

In October, state and federal officials charged 14 people alleged to have been involved in a plot to kidnap the Democratic governor and storm the state Capitol.

More:Plans to kidnap Whitmer, overthrow government spoiled, officials say

Nessel has charged three other men with phone threats directed toward the state Capitol — state Rep. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit; U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Holly, and U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing.

More:Charlotte man faces terrorism charges after Capitol bomb threat, call to lawmaker

More:2 men charged with making threats to Michigan congresswomen, state judge

Federal officials also authorized a charge against a New Hampshire woman alleged to have texted threats to Republican Wayne County Canvasser Monica Palmer. 

Additionally, two Michigan men are facing federal charges in Washington, D.C., over their alleged participation in the Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington, D.C. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

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