Police say 3 men posed no real threat
DENVER - Three men arrested in the Denver area this week - including one found with high-powered rifles, three fake IDs, and two wigs in a truck - did not pose a true threat to Barack Obama at this week's Democratic National Convention, authorities said yesterday.
The men arrested Sunday face drug and gun charges but have not been charged with threatening to assassinate Obama or with other national security-related crimes, US Attorney Troy A. Eid said.
Claims by the men that they planned to assassinate Obama this week "cannot be independently verified," though an investigation is ongoing, Eid said at a news conference. He dubbed the men "meth abusers" who are alleged to have made threats against the candidate.
Obama is to become the first black nominee for president by a major party at this week's convention.
One of the men arrested, Nathan Johnson, told a Denver TV station that others involved in the case had made racist statements regarding Obama and had discussed killing him on Thursday, the day of his acceptance speech.
"He don't belong in political office. Blacks don't belong in political office. He ought to be shot," Johnson told KCNC-TV Monday in an interview from jail, where he was being held on drug charges.
When asked whether he felt there was a plot to kill Obama, Johnson said, "Looking back at it, I don't want to say yes, but I don't want to say no." He said he wasn't involved in any plot.
Also arrested were the driver, Tharin Gartrell, 28, and Shawn Robert Adolf, 33. Adolf jumped out a sixth-story window of a hotel when police arrived Sunday. He broke his ankle in the fall but tried to run before police found him a short distance away.
By yesterday, Johnson was declining media requests for interviews. He did not speak at a hearing where bond was set at $10,000.
The low bond amount suggested that authorities had dismissed a real threat to Obama.
"We're absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado," Eid said earlier.