Free Speech

"Police Chief Charged With Civil Rights Violation" for Threatening Criminal Charges over Critical Posts

|

From the Justice Department (May 28):

The United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Brian Buglio, age 45, of Lattimer Mines, Pennsylvania, was charged in a criminal information on May 27, 2021, with a civil rights violation.

According to Acting United States [Attorney] Bruce D. Brandler, the information alleges that Buglio, the Chief of Police for the West Hazleton Police Department, threatened a private citizen with criminal charges, in retaliation for social media posts created by the private citizen that were critical of Buglio and of the West Hazleton Police Department.

You can see the criminal charges; the former police chief has agreed to plead guilty.

NEXT: Transatlantic Drift

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Well, good!

  2. Sadly, this sort of thing is routinely perpetrated by police officers who are usually a tad brighter than this.

    1. Are you saying Italian Americans are not bright?

  3. I’m concerned this is a rush to judgement. Italian Americans are underrepresented in many institutions and have had to endure double standards…the long pole of discrimination against Italian Americans by such institutions as the NYT, Media, Investment Banks, Hollywood, and yes even the Federal Govt in subtle ways does create a heightened sensitivity to “attacks.” We should have more empathy for this situation and be open to second chances..

    1. I am sympathetic. I plan to send him some linguine when he gets to the penitentiary.

      1. now that isn’t funny…actually it is…
        Given how the media is justifying a 67 year old white women beaten by a 21 year old Amazon driver who accused the senior citizen of “white privilege”, I thought I would use the same logic for this guy…he is a victim….yep a victim of systematic racism…linguine indeed but it better come with homemade NOT jar sauce.

      2. I plan to send him some linguine

        So what? No fuckin’ ziti now?

  4. Speech police? Wonder where the chosen one learned such behavior? Hate speech? Must arrest the haters…..mmmmm….where does that come from???

  5. This is the best news I’ve heard all year. How did the doctrines of qualified immunity and sovereign immunity get overcome? Because this story needs to happen often enough that it wouldn’t be news.

    1. QI does not apply in a criminal case. SI does not apply because he is not a sovereign anything.

  6. I’m a little hesitant about the entire thing. Yes, it was wrong for a Sheriff to threaten, but it is a slippery slope for the DOJ to lodge a civil rights complaint. If they can do it in this situation, they can bring a complaint against anyone. What are the limits? If a politicians says that “yes, I will take away your guns,” which is arguably threatening to take away someone’s 2nd Amdt rights. Is this a civil rights violation? Suppose a politician makes inflammatory statements about a police officer who is undergoing trial? Is that a violation of that officer’s right to a fair trial? Suppose a politician disagrees with a private citizen’s COVID position and asks Twitter to ban that person from Twitter?

    1. ” Yes, it was wrong for a Sheriff to threaten, but it is a slippery slope for the DOJ to lodge a civil rights complaint. If they can do it in this situation, they can bring a complaint against anyone. ”

      “Often libertarian . . . “

    2. I think a politician is threatening to pass a law to take away guns, but certainly if a police chief threatens to take away someone’s guns knowing he has no legal justification, that’s a civil rights violation too.

  7. No arrest took place. This was a threat with no immediacy. It also had the defense of the consent of the critic, their shaking on it. The warrant violates the free speech right of the police. Because it is a real act, not just speech, the federal official should be arrested on the same charge.

  8. “Acting United States Bruce D. Brandler” is that an actual title?

    1. Funny, hadn’t noticed that error in the original; I’ve added “[Attorney]” to clarify.

  9. Buglio? Qualche garbuglio!

Please to post comments