Canton man sentenced to 27 months on federal firearms charge
Prosecutors also cite incident at Stow store in May
A Canton man accused of being racist and threatening to kill police was sentenced Tuesday to 27 months in prison — the maximum allowed under sentencing guidelines — on a federal firearms charge.
Matthew P. Slatzer, 36, was charged in June with possession of a firearm by a person with a domestic violence conviction. He had pleaded guilty in September in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.
"This defendant is well known within the community as an individual with a hateful ideology prone to threaten violence towards law enforcement and others based on race, religion or sexual orientation," U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said in a prepared statement. "These hateful beliefs, combined with a history of actual violence, make the defendant a threat to the community and the entirety of the Northern District."
The firearms charge stemmed from a February arrest when Slatzer was intoxicated and had a .38-caliber revolver in a Canton bar, according to court records. He also had a holster, ammunition, knife and pepper spray.
Federal prosecutors also cited a May 3 incident in which Slatzer was accused of entering a Dollar General in Stow with a hatchet and a sword, asking for directions to Kent State University.
"Slatzer then stated he was an Aryan brother and that he was going to Kent State University to find some Jews," according to court records.
Slatzer drew attention and condemnation from Gov. Mike DeWine for reportedly displaying an anti-Semitic sign at a protest against COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the year.
Federal prosecutors asked the court to consider Slatzer's past threats and hateful actions in his sentencing, which was delayed to give the defense an opportunity to review Slatzer's allegedly threatening phone calls from prison.
During his arrest at the bar, Slatzer reportedly made racist and homophobic statements and threatened to kill the police officers. Court records accuse him of talking about smuggling a gun into the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center and saying "that when he gets out if he has contact with officers again he will 'have to kill 'em.'"
Eric B. Smith, FBI special agent in charge, called Slatzer's threats against law enforcement and actions "reprehensible."
"Hate towards any group must not and will not be tolerated," he said in a news release. "Today's sentencing is another example that shows the FBI is committed to investigating and holding accountable those like Mr. Slatzer, who engage in these types of acts."
A message left with Slatzer's attorney was not immediately returned.
Slatzer was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald C. Nugent. He was given credit for time he spent in federal custody prior to the sentencing. The court also ordered three years of supervised release and recommended a 500-hour residential drug abuse treatment program.
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