A man who has been convicted of making threatening calls to immigration rights group CASA has apologized to the group and has blamed misinformation he received at a Republican meeting as one of the reasons why he made the phone calls.
According the the DC Examiner,
Flanked by several members of CASA, his father, who is in a wheelchair, and some Hispanic would-be workers, Wesley James Queen II made his apology in a basement room of CASA’s worker’s center in Langley Park.
Queen pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls and entered into a plea agreement earlier this month. He is set to be sentenced in July.
He said a number of factors led him to making the calls in May 2008.
“The combination of personal stresses, misinformation that was received during a Republican meeting that I attended, and myself not taking my bipolar medication were all parts of what led up to the threatening phone calls,” Queen said, reading from a statement.
Maryland Republican Party Executive Director Justin Ready said he didn’t know Queen and had “no idea” what meeting he was talking about.
“The Republican Party does not condone or encourage violence of any kind toward groups or individuals,” he said.
Queen refused to answer any questions after his statement, referring reporters to his lawyer, who could not be reached immediately for comment.
CASA spokesman Mario Quiroz, who received one of Queen’s threatening phone calls, said he spoke in support of Queen during his plea hearing and plans on speaking again during sentencing.
“What we have been saying is that … we believe that he’s really aware of the damage that he made and all the troubles that he brought,” Quiroz said, adding that he doesn’t believe Queen is trying to make amends with the group to receive a lighter sentence.
“In my heart, I believe he’s truly sincere,” Quiroz said.
CASA officials, who promoted Wednesday’s news conference with a news release saying Queen had been “motivated by attending a meeting where elected officials disparaged CASA and the immigrant community,” had few details about the meeting, who attended or what was said.
CASA officials and supporters said the purpose of Wednesday’s news conference wasn’t to disparage the Republican Party, but rather to showcase the reconciliation between Queen and CASA and to draw attention to the consequences of the “hate language” directed at the immigrant community used by some politicians and some members of the media
While a firm believer in people taking personal responsibility for their own behavior, one has to always be mindful that words can set off unacceptable behaviors amongst those who are not stabile. Perhaps this is what Mrs. Napolitano meant when she spoke about extremists last week.
DISCLAIMER: It is important to note that Anti-bvbl is NOT implying that the Republican Party is culpable for this man’s behavior. The objectives for examining this story are to discuss how words can set off unintended consequences. Additionally, there has been much rancor over the DHS warnings about left and right extremist groups. This story does lend some credence to the department’s warning.