Judge Lets Terrorist Go As He Is Not A "Real Threat"

by
Indrani Sengupta
If evidence of extensive planning, from wiretapped phone calls to Facebook posts, to an actual admission of guilt, isn't enough to warrant a sentence, what is?

Robert Rankin Doggart, a resident of Tennessee and an ordained minister of the Christian National Church, admitted to plotting a “Charleston-style terror attack” on a black Muslim community in New York, Islamberg. He was recorded by the FBI on a wiretapped phone call discussing his plan to burn down a Muslim school and mosque in Hancock, N.Y., and shoot anyone who tried to intervene. He claims he had support from members of a South Carolina militia.

In a chilling Facebook post, he offered “justification” for his plans, under the veil of devout religiosity:

 "Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.”

"Our small group will soon be faced with the fight of our lives. We will offer those lives as collateral to prove our commitment to our God.”

“"We will be cruel to them, and we will burn down their buildings. If anyone attempts to harm us in any way, our stand gunner will take them down from 350 yards away. The standoff gunner would be me."

Doggart was arrested on April 10th and charged with soliciting others to violate civil rights and attempting to damage religious property, charges which fail to acknowledge the severity of Doggart’s planned attack. What about the lives he threatened?

Federal Magistrate Susan K. Lee ordered that Doggart remain in jail until the case is resolved, but has since agreed to the lesser sentence of house arrest.  Doggart has been released on bail.

Meanwhile, no attempt has been made to offer protection to the threatened community, while their would-be attacker walks free.

The judge presiding over the case, Curtis Collier of Chattanooga, has said that he may not accept the plea bargain that Doggart himself has agreed to, which would give him a mere 5 years in prison, because he’s not convinced that Doggart was/is a “true threat.” He asked attorneys to submit more evidence to the fact.

What would constitute a “true threat,” if the evidence we’ve seen thus far isn’t enough? Do human lives have to be taken before our judicial system admits that there was any threat to human lives?

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on the Obama administration to recognize Doggart’s planned attack as an act of domestic terrorism. CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad stated,

"It is deeply troubling that an individual who has admitted to planning a religiously-motivated terror attack on American Muslims is now free, while the intended targets of his plot remain unprotected. We urge authorities to place Mr. Doggart in custody until this case is resolved, and failing that, to offer protection to his intended targets." 

Read more: Terrorist Who Wanted To Destroy New York Just Released

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