FBI Detroit
Special Agent Mara Schneider
(313) 965-5749
July 14, 2016

FBI Addresses Free Speech Versus Threatening Speech

The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan want to remind citizens that they uphold and support any and every individual’s constitutional right to free speech. Free speech, however, cannot be misconstrued to include directed threats toward another individual, group, or location. Once threatening speech is directed toward a specific person; a group of people, including law enforcement agencies or ethnic communities; or specific locations in a community, it can be viewed as a credible threat. Individuals who communicate threats may be subject to prosecution.