Maple Heights man who plotted al Qaeda-style attack on Cleveland’s July 4 parade sentenced to 14 years in prison

Maple Heights man who plotted al Qaeda-style attack on Cleveland’s July 4 parade sentenced to 14 years in prison
Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A Maple Heights man convicted of attempting to provide material support to terrorist groups and making threats to the president was sentenced to 14 years.

The punishment for Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts, also known as Abdur Raheem Rafeeq or Salah ad-Deen Osama Waleed, was handed down Tuesday morning by the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio.

Pitts has been in custody since July 2018 for plotting an Independence Day attack in Cleveland.

The FBI says he intended on planting explosives downtown and wanted to give explosive remote-controlled toy cars to children in hopes they would harm their own parents.

“This defendant plotted an attack on families and children in downtown Cleveland on July 4, a day of utmost importance to all Americans, and he further attempted to undermine our democracy by making threats against the President and his family,” U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman said. “For this conduct, the defendant is deserving of every day of this 14 year sentence.

Pitts was originally arrested after communicating for a period of time with an undercover FBI agent. The two discussed an Oklahoma City-style attack in Cleveland or Philadelphia.

The 50-year-old was also charged with threatening to kidnap President Donald Trump, specifically stating he would cut off his head and hands, according to federal court records.

After release from prison, Pitts will remain under court supervision for the rest of his life.

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