A police chief in West Hazleton has been reportedly charged with a federal crime after a man accused him of making threats related to social media posts.
The man had been criticizing the police chief online for the way he directed his department and its officers, based on a Tuesday report in The Washington Post.
How did it all happen?
As the report points out, Brian Buglio, 45, threatened the man, identified as Paul DeLorenzo, with fake charges unless he took down the critical posts.
The police chief reportedly called the man to the West Hazleton Police Department where he proceeded to deliver the ultimatum.
Buglio is currently facing federal charges as result of “allegedly threatening a private citizen with criminal charges in retaliation for the social media posts.” The proceedings were documented in a lawsuit that was filed last week with the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
DeLorenzo shared that when he asked the chief why he was doing this, “he goes, 'Well, you like to post fake things and fake stories about me, so I could make up a fake arrest and put you in jail.”
The news outlet emphasizes that some of DeLorenzo’s posts comment negatively on Buglio taking “too long to make an arrest in a case he was involved with.”
“He called me, left me a voicemail, and said that he was going to arrest me for a crime that was being investigated for something I've never even done or had any part of,” DeLorenzo said for WNEP-TV.
DeLorenzo said he came to the precinct to talk about the issue with Buglio, during which time he “acknowledged that the threatened felony charges lacked merit,” the complaint says.
“By the end of the meeting, DeLorenzo agreed to take down the posts from the social media platform and to refrain from posting any other critical messages about Buglio and his force,” the news outlet pointed out.
DeLorenzo shared with WNEP that he immediately called the FBI to report Buglio’s conduct.
Buglio has been charged with one count of deprivation of civil rights by federal authorities. If he is convicted, he could pay a $100,000 fine and stay in prison for up to one year.
The news outlet noted that the West Hazleton police chief agreed to plead guilty and that he is going to step down from his position.