CAIR-SD Legal Update


CAIR San Diego is pleased to announce the successful prosecution and incarceration of the man who issued a death threat to our office.  Executive Director Hanif Mohebi has gone on the record publicly stating that we will not tolerate violence or hate messages of any kind – whether it’s aimed at us, or at our community.  The prosecution of the individual was long and difficult for our office, but we are pleased the Court had zero tolerance for the acts, and imposed the maximum sentence.

In January 2015, a short time after the Charley Hebdo attack in France, we received a threatening voice mail in our office.  Plaintiff John David Weissinger referenced Charley Hebdo, and stated that he was coming after CAIR-SD, with “more firepower” than they had; and was coming to kill all of us.  Because of the strong relationship we’ve built with the SDPD and District Attorney’s offices, the police department responded immediately, and working with the head of the Hate Crimes division, determined that this threat qualified as a Hate Crime.  They took swift action, doing surveillance, and determined that this man indeed possessed assualt weapons.  He was arrested immediately and taken into custody, thwarting any potential violence.
 
The wheels of justice turn slowly.  We had quite a few court hearings, as the Plaintiff refused to accept plea deals, changed lawyers, and continued several sentencing hearings.  We gave statements to the DA’s office and Probation Departments, and presented Victims Witness Statements in court.  Ultimately, on January 20, the Honorable Judge Timothy Walsh imposed the maximum sentence, and said of Mr. Weissinger’s behavior that…“It’s hateful, it’s caustic, it’s inflammatory, it’s dangerous, it’s illegal, it’s inexcusable and it cannot be tolerated.  One needs to understand that this type of conduct will not be tolerated.  His conduct is not going to be treated lightly.”  John Weissinger received 1 year in jail, and 5 years’ probation.  He was handcuffed in the courtroom and taken to jail.
 
Although justice was served in this instance, it’s important for us to understand that federal law enforcement did not treat this matter as a case of domestic terrorism, and the FBI still has not brought any federal hate crime charges against Mr. Weissinger.  We believe that there is an unacceptable double standard.  If an American man with a Middle Eastern sounding name threatened any group, possessed firearms and indicated a willingness to carry out a threat, we believe the FBI would have requested jurisdiction to investigate and ultimately prosecute on terrorism charges.
 
We have a full time Civil Rights attorney on staff to assist community members and masjids should something like this happen to you.  No one deserves this kind of terror, and we are here to serve you.  If you receive a threat of any kind, please call our office immediately.  We’ve been trained to determine the difference between threats and harassment, and will be able to assist you, free of charge, as you pursue justice.
 
CAIR-SD has established a Civil Rights legal defense fund to be able to assist our community members free of charge.  However, the legal process can be long and expensive.  Please donate.  Note that these funds are for the Civil Rights Department, and we’ll set them aside should something like this happen to you, your family, your neighbors, or your mosque. 
 
We are here to serve you.
 
Sincerely,
 
The staff of CAIR San Diego