Police in Arkansas have arrested a 20-year-old man and self-proclaimed rapper for allegedly using terrorist threats in his music that suggested he wanted to kill and rape children, blow up churches, shoot up schools and assassinate the US president.
Reese Alexander Sullivan was arrested Nov. 2 after police followed up on a tip about him that was first submitted to the FBI in August. According to a heavily edited Affidavit of Probable Cause After material obtained by Law&Crime was alerted by someone who had come into contact with Sullivan’s music, he alerted the FBI to the disturbing find.
There were nine videos containing the alleged threats and, according to police, they included “racist statements about certain groups of people and killing them, bombing churches associated with a certain race, killing children, raping Children, bringing his gun to school and murdering another.” of a particular ethnic group, shooting up his school because he was being bullied, details of a plan to commit a school shooting, killing his grandmother, a bombing to target a specific public event, kill the president, and bomb the Senate.”
On Halloween, police executed a search warrant for Sullivan’s home in Arkansas. Court records indicate Sullivan was at work when the search was conducted. He was contacted, according to an affidavit, and told he had not been arrested during the search. No bombs or other firearms were found during the search.
Bentonville police said the 20-year-old claimed the videos were intended to be “funny” and that it was part of a “character or personality” he had used since he was 17.
“Sullivan said he does not hate the groups identified in the songs, he has not sexually abused children, he has no interest in a shooting at his school, a bombing or killing the president, and he does not own firearms or explosives or components,” officials reported. “Sullivan understood how the statements could disturb someone. He never told his employer or his parents that he was writing or singing these songs.”
Police said they were not told of any history of abuse or trauma when they interviewed Sullivan.
Sullivan was charged with first-degree terroristic threats and held on $50,000 bail. He was released Nov. 4 and online court records show he is scheduled to appear in Benton County Circuit Court on Dec. 11.
Sullivan is represented by public defender Jay Scott Saxton. Saxton did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment Tuesday.
Notably, the indictment against Sullivan comes just over a year after it was signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom The law decriminalizing artistic expressiona law restricting prosecutors’ use of rap lyrics as evidence in court.
In a statement shared on social media at the time, the governor hailed the law as the first of its kind in the United States:
CA is the first state to ensure that creative content – such as song lyrics and music videos – cannot be used against artists in court without judicial review.
– California Governor’s Office (@CAgovernor) September 30, 2022
USA today I reported that the lawfirst proposed by Democrats in the California General Assembly would prevent “a court from admitting a form of creative expression into evidence in a criminal proceeding in which a party seeks to [from considering] certain factors in weighing the probative value of that evidence against the significant risk of undue prejudice.”
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