A retired Tampa Police officer wants an arrest made after someone went onto the website he runs and threatened the kill a Florida Highway Patrol trooper.
Chip DeBlock told FOX 13 that a moderator on the site LEOAffairs.com intercepted the comment after it had been recently submitted. It was a threat against Trooper Daniel Cole.
"We do a very dangerous job. It hits home," DeBlock said. "Having someone make a death threat against a trooper, we take very seriously."
LEOAffiars.com is a site dedicated to law enforcement news and forums, but any reader can post. The comment directed at Cole was posted on an article about him.
The post reads in part: "This (expletive) needs to be shot. Bind his arms and legs and feed him to hungry wolves. This despicable piece of trash needs to die."
Trooper Cole has made headlines. Dash cam video from 2012 shows him using a stun gun on a woman in handcuffs. Her fall resulted in a serious brain injury. That same year, he mistakenly shot a cemetery owner he thought was a suspect.
"It doesn't matter that it was Trooper Cole or another trooper, what really matters is the context of the threat," DeBlock said. "There should at least be an arrest made in this case."
Last month, Pinellas Park Police arrested Bruce Santee II and charged him with threatening an officer's life in a Facebook post.
"There's a 1st Amendment right for free speech, but that line is drawn when you threaten to kill another individual," said Tampa defense attorney and former prosecutor Anthony Rickman.
Rickman said this case might be different largely because the poster lives in another state.
"I think law enforcement has a serious talk to him. But legally, I don't think there's enough evidence to arrest him on what we have," he said.
But DeBlock said ignoring this would send the wrong message.
"I think that it will send a message to open up the door for further threats, not just for Trooper Cole, but for other law enforcement officers in knowing that it's really not taken seriously at all," he said.
The Florida Highway Patrol said they are investigating this but wouldn't give any details. FHP would not make Trooper Cole available for comment.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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