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Detroit man arraigned after allegedly making threats in voicemail to "kill Arabs"

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Dec. 6, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Dec. 6, 2023 04:00

LANSING, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - 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, Dana Nessel, the Michigan Attorney General said. 

Purvis was upset with the outcome of a criminal matter where he pled guilty to one count of disturbing the peace for an incident at a Southfield gas station, Nessel said. 

He made multiple calls about how he was dissatisfied with the attorney who represented him before leaving the alleged threatening voicemail, according to Nessel's office. 

In the voicemail, Purvis described a grievance with Arabs coming out of his criminal case, threatening to assassinate them, Nessel said. 

"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," Nessel said. "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, an offense potentially punishable by incarceration up to life or any term of years, according to the attorney general's office. 

Purvis received a $500,000 cash/surety bond and if he posts the bond he will be under house arrest and be electronically tethered, Nessel said. 

He is scheduled for a probable cause hearing on Dec. 18. 

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