Feds: Man pleads guilty to threatening to burn Black church

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to threatening to burn down a Black church in Virginia days after one of the church’s leaders took part in a vigil for George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minnesota.

John Malcolm Bareswill, 63, entered the plea Wednesday, nearly two months after he was arrested on charges related to his alleged threat, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said in a news release.

Authorities said Bareswill, who lived in Catawba, North Carolina, also made racist remarks when he called the Baptist church in Virginia Beach to make the threats in June. He could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison during his hearing in November, the release said.

Floyd died on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes as he pleaded for air. His death sparked global demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

It is not immediately clear if Bareswill had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

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