Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, and Sarah Anthony
State Reps. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, and Sarah Anthony, D-Lansing allegedly received death threats and have been threatened before while in office. (File photos)

An Ohio woman is facing up to 20 years in prison for allegedly leaving racist and threatening voicemails last year for two Black state lawmakers, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Tuesday.

Sandra Bachman of Batavia, Ohio, is charged with one count of false report or a threat of terrorism, which is a 20-year felony. The 58-year-old is also charged with one count of ethnic intimidation, a two-year felony, and two misdemeanor counts of malicious use of telecommunications service over the messages she allegedly left for Democratic state Reps. Cynthia Johnson of Detroit and Sarah Anthony of Lansing. 

Johnson, who has been a state representative since 2019, has faced threats before. In 2020, Johnson said she received numerous death threats and other unsettling phone calls, text messages and emails. Those messages ranged from racist epithets to threats of violence, similar to the one she allegedly received from Bachman last June. 

According to Nessel’s office, Bachman’s voicemail warned Johnson “you’re going to die.”

“Well, baby-doll, n***a lip b***h, monkey, we are going to get you,” Bachman allegedly said in a segment of the voicemail provided by Nessel’s office. “You will die. You are one of the worst offenders. We actually have a tier too, in like points for how much you are worth once we kill you…. You’re going to die and I’m happy about it. The whole world will be rejoicing, just know that. Sleep well.” 

Anthony, Nessel’s office noted, allegedly received a similar message back in last May.

“Hay um, need to cancel that bill against the vets, you little traitor,” the message allegedly left by Bachman said. “And, um, you won’t see the bullet coming, let me tell you that. So, stop this sh*t and you’re fired. We’ll be coming to Michigan soon to remove you from your post.”

Anthony was one of several lawmakers who helped ban the open-carry of firearms in Michigan Capitol buildings in January of 2021. Anthony began to lobby for the ban, after she had to be escorted into the Capitol by armed civilians when demonstrators, with racist symbols, were protesting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-related public health orders in May of 2020. 

Lawmakers couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. 

Both incidents were investigated by the Michigan State Police before the Attorney General’s office was alerted. Bachman’s arraignment is scheduled for March 31in 54A District Court in Lansing.

Bryce Huffman is a reporter for BridgeDetroit. He was formerly a reporter for Michigan Radio, and host of the podcast, Same Same Different.

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