Wayne prosecutors review Facebook threats against cops

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Wayne County Prosecutors are reviewing Detroit police warrant requests for charges against four men who were arrested last week after allegedly making threats against police officers.

The warrant requests were sent to prosecutors Thursday, police chief James Craig and Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said.

“We met with prosecutors and they didn’t give us a specific timeline of when they’d have a decision on charges,” Craig said. “We’re advocating they be charged with felony threats.”

The warrant requests are for the charge of using the internet to make threats, a two-year felony, police said.

Police said one man posted: “All lives can’t matter until black lives matter. Kill all white cops.” Another reportedly wrote: “It’s time to wage war and shoot the police first.” The man told people to contact him to organize the effort to shoot officers, police said.

Craig said he takes the posts seriously after officers across the country have been shot, including five killed by a Dallas sniper.

After their arrests, two of the men were held for a short time on misdemeanor warrants, but have since been released, police said.

“If there’s a decision to charge, we’ll pick them up,” Craig said.

The FBI Detroit Field Office put out a press release Thursday, stressing the difference between free speech and threats:

“The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan want to remind citizens that they uphold and support any and every individual's constitutional right to free speech.

“Free speech, however, cannot be misconstrued to include directed threats toward another individual, group, or location. Once threatening speech is directed toward a specific person; a group of people, including law enforcement agencies or ethnic communities; or specific locations in a community; it can be viewed as a credible threat. Individuals who communicate threats may be subject to prosecution.”

ghunter@detroitnews.com