Frederick man charged in threat against Biden, Harris

BALTIMORE, MD – A federal criminal complaint has been filed charging James Dale Reed, age 42, of Frederick, on the federal charge of threats against a major candidate for President or Vice President—specifically, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris.

Reed is currently in state custody and a federal warrant has been lodged as a detainer to insure his appearance in U.S. District Court at a future date.

The federal charge was announced by U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur and Special Agent in Charge Bo Keane of the United States Secret Service – Baltimore Field Office.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur stated, “We take these types of threats extremely seriously.  Such threats to commit violence are illegal and have no place in our democracy, and we will hold accountable those who make them.  We are grateful for the assistance of the City of Frederick Police Department and to citizens who provided tips that ultimately led to Reed’s arrest and these federal charges.”

According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, on Oct. 4, 2020, a letter threatening candidates for President and Vice President—specifically, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris—was left on the doorstep of a resident in Frederick in the early hours of the morning.  The likeness of the subject delivering the letter was captured by a door camera.  The resident did not know the subject but had several signs in the yard supporting the candidates threatened in the letter.

The letter contains the following passage:

“This is a warning to anyone reading this letter if you are a Biden/Harris supporter you will be targeted.  We have a list of homes and addresses by your election signs.  We are the ones with those scary guns, We are the ones your children have nightmares about. … When We capture Grandpa Biden we will all severely beat him to the point of death as for Mrs. Harris she will be bent over and Anally raped by my rifle barrel. Then for the Grand end the [sic] both will be executed on National Television.”

“The right to vote and peacefully support the candidate of your choice are bedrocks of our democracy,” Hur said.  “Conduct like this that threatens major candidates and fellow citizens only undermines our democracy and the principles upon which America was founded.  We will not tolerate threatening conduct that seeks to intimidate, harass or dissuade Americans from exercising their right to vote.”

Investigators worked to identify the subject in the door camera video and after receiving a citizen tip, focused on Reed. 

An individual familiar with Reed viewed the door camera likeness and confirmed that person was Reed. 

Reed was interviewed Oct. 13 at his residence and denied leaving a threatening letter or being the individual in the door camera video that was shown to him.

Two days later, Reed admitted writing and delivering the letter and was arrested. A criminal complaint is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

If convicted, Reed faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.