Police chief who threatened Facebook critic with false arrest pleads guilty
A Pennsylvania police chief who threatened a critic with fake arrest unless the person removes the attacker’s Facebook posts has pleaded guilty to a violation of federal civil rights.
Chief Brian Buglio of the West Hazleton, Pa. Police Department made threats in March 2020 to a private citizen, telling the person he would pursue retaliatory felony charges at several social media posts that were addressed to him and the police, authorities said.
The person then agreed to remove the Facebook posts and refrain from making future comments about Chief Buglio and the police, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday in federal court in Scranton, Pa.
“During the meeting, Brian Buglio admitted that the threatened crime charges lacked merit,” federal prosecutors said in the criminal complaint, adding that Chief Buglio and the person had shaken hands on “the agreement”.
Chief Buglio, 45, of Lattimer Mines, Pa., Pleaded guilty on Friday to one count of deprivation of civil rights under cover of the law and agreed to resign within 10 days of the deal being struck. plea, according to a copy of this agreement.
A lawyer for Chief Buglio did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday evening.
Federal prosecutors said the FBI Public Corruption Task Force investigated the case.
Authorities have not identified the person Chief Buglio threatened to arrest, but the TV channel WNEP reported that it was a man who lives in East Stroudsburg, PA. Efforts to reach him on Tuesday evening were unsuccessful. The station reported that the man said the chief told him that since the man liked to post fake stories, he could make up a fake arrest.
Chief Buglio’s current employment status was not immediately clear.
The mayor of West Hazleton, a borough of less than 5,000 residents about 45 minutes southwest of Scranton, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday evening.
A person who answered the phone at the Borough Director’s home hung up when contacted Tuesday evening.
Chief Buglio could face up to a year in prison and a fine of $ 100,000, according to the plea deal.
According to the borough’s website, the West Hazleton Police Department has four full-time and four part-time police officers. Chief Buglio has been employed by the police service since 1996 and became a police officer in 1995, the website says.