Advocacy entered into anti-Black Lives Matter shirt incident

A Columbia County man who engaged in a confrontation while wearing an anti-Black Lives Matter shirt pleaded against terrorist threats on Monday.

James Stachowiak, 61, pleaded Alford – a plea in which the accused does not admit guilt but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to be convicted – in Columbia County Superior Court.

Stachowiak was initially charged with one count of misconduct as a violation of county ordinances, but the case went to two counts in the indictment in February.

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Stachowiak was originally charged after a confrontation on December 9, 2020 at a grocery store. The victim and witnesses reported that he was wearing a provocative T-shirt and an argument broke out. Stachowiak pulled out a baton and told the victim he also had a gun and knew how to use it, Deputy District Attorney Kevin Majeska said.

Stachowiak had previously drawn public attention for videos of himself outside a local mosque, threatening while holding a gun, making the news in 2015 when he showed up at a recruiting office carrying a gun. assault and a gun, and expressing racist feelings at a 2016 Stacey Abrams rally with veterans.

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After spending about a month in jail before he could get bail, Stachowiak changed, defense lawyer Amanda Keen said. He hasn’t made any comments on social media since being released from prison, she said, and his days of provocative speeches are over. Stachowiak pulled the stick, but he did so after the victim told him he was going to hurt himself while wearing that shirt, Keen said. The victim was much younger and stronger than Stachowiak and he felt threatened, she said.

Chief Justice James G. Blanchard accepted the negotiated plea and sentenced Stachowiak to five years probation with a fine of $ 250.

Blanchard urged Stachowiak to give up what others see as hate speech. “If we don’t make peace in this nation, we will destroy this nation.”

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