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Detroit Man Arraigned on Charge of False Threat of Terrorism

LANSING – Yesterday, in the 41B District Court in Macomb County, Walter Purvis, 53, of Detroit, was arraigned on one count of False Report or Threat of Terrorism for allegedly threatening to kill Arabs in a voicemail left for his Clinton Township-based attorney.   

Purvis was dissatisfied with the resolution of a criminal matter in which he pled guilty to one count of Disturbing the Peace for an incident at a Southfield gas station and had placed multiple calls expressing this dissatisfaction to the attorney who had represented him before leaving the alleged threatening voicemail. In the voicemail, the State contends Purvis described a grievance with Arabs arising out of his criminal case and threatened to assassinate them.

“This was a serious, racially biased threat of violence left on the voicemail of someone who, as an attorney, had no choice but to report the potential threat,” said Nessel. “My Department takes threats such as these incredibly seriously, both in our advocacy with the legislature to strengthen Michigan’s hate crimes protections and in prosecuting these intentionally terrifying threats to the fullest extent of the available laws.” 

Purvis was charged as a habitual fourth offender, the offense is potentially punishable by incarceration up to life or any term of years. The Court granted Purvis a $500,000 cash/surety bond, and should he avail himself of bond, he will do so under house arrest and be electronically tethered. Purvis will next appear for a probable cause conference before the 41B District Court on December 18th.   

In 2019, Attorney General Nessel launched the Hate Crimes and Domestic Terrorism Unit. If you are a victim of a hate crime or have credible information about a hate crime, please contact your local police department first and then the Department via email or at 313-456-0040.


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