Plot to free Nuwaubian leader
Athens Banner-Herald, Mar. 30, 2003
By Allison Floyd
An apparently mentally unstable man who was arrested last week after he terrified workers at the Atlanta Highway Regions Bank may also be charged with threatening the president of the United States and the sheriff of Putnam County, according to police reports.
Athens-Clarke County Police had already talked with Gary Charles Tatum the morning of March 19, the day witnesses said he walked into the local bank, claimed he was the Messiah and demanded employees give him $5,000.
That Wednesday morning, Athens police received a call from the Pentagon, where federal agents said Tatum had made repeated harassing phone calls.
When officers arrived at his Whitehall Road home, Tatum – who is a member of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors – answered the door in an Egyptian fez and a white robe, according to a police report. He identified himself as the Messiah and said the Heavenly Father told him to call the Pentagon and have Nuwaubian leader Malachi York released from jail, according to the report.
York pleaded guilty to 77 counts of sex crimes against children in January and agreed to a 15-year prison sentence.
Tatum told the Athens officers of a vast government conspiracy against York and said he ”prayed God would bring down fire on all the bad people,” according to police.
He said he would not stop telephoning the Pentagon and White House, and that President Bush smokes crack and is homosexual.
Police tape recorded the encounter and reported that Tatum is a ”mental subject,” but left him at home.
That afternoon, Tatum touched off an armed robbery scare after he demanded money from Regions Bank workers, while reaching into his jacket as if he had a gun.
Athens police descended on the bank and arrested Tatum.
U.S. Secret Service agents interviewed Tatum at the local jail, but declined to comment on the case.
Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said Tatum also will be charged with making harassing phone calls to his house twice on March 17 – once in the evening and again at 4:30 a.m.
”I just don’t need to hear about how somebody’s going to castrate me and then cut off my legs that early in the morning,” Sills said.
Tatum claimed ”the angel of death” will carry out his threats against Sills and Bush, Sills said.
Tatum was transferred from the Clarke County Jail to an Augusta hospital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.