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Man charged in case related to online threats against Whitmer, others


A 30-year-old Huron County man faces a federal weapons charge following a series of online tirades against Governor Gretchen Whitmer and other Democratic elected officials, law enforcement and LGBTQ people that led the FBI to his door.

A U.S. Attorney’s affidavit alleges Randall Robert Berka II illegally possessed four firearms. The affidavit says that’s not legal because Berka was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment. Berka came to the attention of authorities as the result of an online tip to the FBI, which drew investigators to YouTube posts.

The charging affidavit approved by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan says Berka made the threats in rambling posts on YouTube.

The affidavit says his mother, Michelle Berka, purchased the weapons for him over the past year, but considers her son a risk.

It says, “Michelle is scared of BERKA, does not think mental health treatment is working, and believes BERKA should be arrested and put in prison.”

The complaint lays out the probable cause elements to justify charges. It also says there are more facts and details not mentioned in the charging document.

Efforts to reach Berka’s family or his attorney were not successful.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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