National Security

African American Man in Knoxville Strikes Revenge By Sending Threatening Letters to Black Citizens Claiming to be a Local Businessman, Member of the Ku Klux Klan

After a local dispute, Justin Lamar Coleman crafted the most unthinkable act…

A Knoxville, Tennessee man has struck a deal to plead guilty to a federal charge of mailing threatening communications after he sent six letters last year.  Justin Lamar Coleman—an African American man—had been holding a grudge for six years over an encounter he had with the owner of a body shop, Jeff McCown.  In 2010, Coleman had apparently gotten stuck in the grass at McCown’s body shop as he drove onto the property and caused damage to the grass in front of the business.  Naturally, McCown became irate and exchanged words with Coleman for tearing up the grass on his property.  Coleman reacted to this altercation by calling the police and claiming that McCown had thrown rocks and sticks.  Since there wasn’t any proof of such allegations, no charges were filed.

In 2015, Coleman used Facebook to launch an attack on McCown’s business in attempts to destroy his reputation.  Then last July, Coleman began the most despicable act anyone could even think to conjure up.  He began sending letters to black citizens claiming to be a member of the Ku Klux Klan and signed the letters in McCown’s name.  He sent letters to the daughter of a prominent black pastor in the area that was full of disgusting language, including several instances of the ‘n’ word.  Coleman mentioned in the letters that he would rape the pastor’s daughter, castrate her father, and even made a reference to President Donald Trump in one letter stating, “I’m a very racist white man and with Mr. Trump in the White House being President white people going to take over the world.”

The timing of the letters was also no coincidence.  At the time, the pastor—Daryl Arnold—was involved in the black community leading discussions on gang violence after a high-profile shooting death of a local football player.  Coleman’s malicious actions were calculated and designed to strike terror and fear into the black community in efforts to carry out his sick plot for revenge.  As a member of a minority group in the United States, I find it beyond deplorable that Coleman would target members of his own community in this manner.

Following this sickening series of events he was allowed to strike a deal with prosecutors and remain free on house arrest.  I can’t even imagine the amount of anger and fear Mr. Arnold’s family was subjected to, or the damage that was done to Mr. McCown’s reputation.  That behavior is disgusting and has no place in the United States, or anywhere for that matter.

Personally, I’d like to see more dialogue on these types of stories because I am quite certain this situation will receive little, if any, media coverage.  Of course, the story from the Knoxville News Sentinel made it a point to mention that testimony “indicates” Coleman suffers from mental illness.  There are millions of citizens in the United States who suffer from mental illness who don’t attack innocent people with terroristic threats because someone was “mean to them”.  With such a hostile divide present in the United States, we cannot afford to bury these types of stories.  Rather, we have to attack them head-on in order to get closer to healing. 


Angelina Newsom

Angelina Newsom is an OpsLens Contributor and U.S. Army Veteran. She has ten years experience in the military, including a deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. She studies Criminal Justice and is still active within the military community.

Join the conversation!

We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment where we can engage in reasonable discourse.