Evidently the letter he sent to the mosque wasn’t as threatening as it was originally made out to be. There are still questionable freedom of speech issues about this case, but anyway Harrison is free. An update on this story. “DA drops Tulsa man’s hate-crime charges,” by Jerry Wofford for the Tulsa World, January 15:
The district attorney dropped hate-crime charges against a Tulsa man Friday afternoon after a jury decided the evening before that the defendant did not need involuntary mental-health treatment.
Jesse Quinn Harrison was charged Dec. 28 with transmitting a threatening letter and with malicious intimidation or harassment.
The charges were based on a package he had sent to the Peace Academy at the Islamic Society of Tulsa. The package included a letter and a video he had made of himself smearing a Quran and an image of an Islamic religious figure with pork chops and grilling those items.
A mental-health hearing ended Thursday with a jury’s deciding that Harrison was not “in need of treatment,” according to the verdict.
Because Harrison – who had been a patient at the Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health – still faced the criminal charges, he was arrested and booked into the Tulsa Jail after the verdict. After the charges were dismissed, he was released from jail Friday, records show.
Tulsa County District Attorney Tim Harris sat in on much of Harrison’s mental-health hearing Wednesday and Thursday and said it was a kind of preview of what would be presented in a criminal case. He said he could see how the evidence would be presented and heard Harrison’s explanation of the video and letter submitted as evidence for the first time.
“After listening to him – though I don’t agree with the jury’s decision – it does give you some insight into where he was coming from,” Harris said Friday.
Harrison testified Thursday that by posting the video – which he acknowledged was “horribly offensive” – to YouTube and Facebook, he hoped to show that Islam was a peaceful religion despite a prevailing stereotype to the contrary.
“I created this horribly offensive video, yet what so many people expected was for Muslims to act violent to me,” Harrison testified. “Despite this horrible offense, they continue to be a law-abiding, peaceful people.”
Harris said that although Harrison is “going about it in a way I don’t concur with,” it would be difficult to prove that he intended violence toward anyone but possibly himself.
“The issues to be litigated in the criminal case were addressed in the mental-health case,” Harris said.
He added that before he decided to drop the charges, he spoke with Islamic Society of Tulsa leaders, two of whom testified Wednesday.
“They did not believe Mr. Harrison’s incarceration would serve long-term purposes,” Harris said….
I.e., it would reveal too much about our war against the freedom of speech, so let the poor devil go.