Making threats is a good way to end up under arrest. Threatening to kill a police officer is an even faster way to find yourself locked up behind bars.
Take for example a situation that started in Oregon and ended with threats against several Pennsylvanian police officers and federal charges for a defendant. According to the news, a 43-year-old man sent an email that threatened to kill a police chief in Pennsylvania. He also threatened to kill other officers who he allegedly believed were leaders of “terrorist organizations.”
The man was arrested without incident and charged with sending threatening communications, a federal offense. The email that he sent to the police chief allegedly stated that he swore an oath to defend the United States and would kill the chief and all of his subordinates. He also alleged that authorities in Pennsylvania had hired skinhead gang members to assault him, causing him to flee the state.
The defendant then reportedly sent an email to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to tell them to “do their jobs.” Otherwise, he claimed, he could be obliged to take matters into his own hands and kill the police chief and his subordinates “on sight.” Agents went to the man’s home and advised him not to threaten other people.
Eventually, the man tried to purchase a pistol but failed as a result of a protective order filed by Pennsylvanian authorities. When an Oregon State Patrol trooper called the man about the attempted purchase and his email, he said that he was struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and did not recall sending an email.
Cases like this may seem bizarre, but the truth really can be stranger than fiction when people are going through troubled times. Mental health concerns are sometimes a good defense in court if they have led to unusual behavior — and may have been a factor in this case. Defendants with mental health problems (or family members acting on their behalf) are encouraged to seek experienced legal representation in order to have the best possible chance of a positive outcome in court.