*Four African American men have been arrested by Detroit police for making serious threats towards white police officers via Facebook. As of this writing, all four have been tracked down and arrested.
According to comments made by Detroit police Chief James Craig on Sunday, and reported by the Detroit News, posts by the men included, “All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter. Kill all White cops,” a post from a second man referred to Micah Xavier Johnson, the lone gunman who took the lives of five police officers during a peaceful protest in Dallas as a “hero,” and added that he is inspired to do the same thing.
A third suspect posted, “It’s time to wage war and shoot the police first” and even encouraged “supporters” to get in touch with him in an attempt to plan future attacks. And a fourth suspect hit send on a post that advocated such violence “needs to happen more often,” and, according to police, even shared a variety of graphic images and videos of officer shootings on his timeline.
The threats were discovered by counterterrorism officers on the Detroit PD as they were scanning different social media forums. Law enforcement has been on exceptionally high alert since the Dallas shooting, which also injured seven other officers, last Thursday.
Craig stated, “Social media is a new territory, and while it’s been established that hate speech is protected by the First Amendment, we’re talking about people specifically saying on Facebook they want to kill white police officers. If someone threatens to kill the president, that person would be arrested and prosecuted. How is it different when someone threatens a white cop?”
Craig said he is reaching out to federal, state and local prosecutors to review what kind of charges should be brought upon the suspects. He recognizes these social media threats towards police as a new issue and wants them charged with the necessary crimes. He says two of the suspects will remain in jail for outstanding warrants and the other two were released.