A man from Detroit, MI is facing up to 40 years in prison for the alleged rants encouraging people to “kill all white cops” he posted on Facebook. 40-year-old Nehru Littleton was upset after watching the various videos of white police officers shooting and killing unarmed Black men that have been spread across social and news media.
Investigators say Littleton posted the following on his Facebook page between July 8 and July 9:
“If these racist ass white cops want to PURGE on Black Lives!!! Then let’s PURGE on these racist ass white cops!!! I’m sick of this shit!!! If you don’t like what I said, UNFRIEND ME!!!! #rugonberue.”
Nehru’s rants were promptly reported to the Dearborn Police Department by an “unnamed Dearborn resident”. Police dispatched a message throughout the department and substations, saying that Littleton’s posts amounted to a “significant threat” to lives of its police officers.
Littleton was charged with the crime of making terroristic threats, giving him with two felonies. Each charge is punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Michigan.
The charges come two months after Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy declined to file charges against Littleton, stating that not only were the threats vague, but that the man was in Puerto Rico when he allegedly posted them.
Worthy admitted she found Littleton’s posts disturbing, but cautioned,
“We cannot fly by the seat of our pants in charging cases. [He] did not indicate that he was the one who was going to kill all white cops, and never said that his Facebook friends should kill all white cops. Further, [Littleton’s] written rant did not indicate when all white officers should be killed or which white officers should be killed.”
She also said state law would not allow her to charge him because he was in Puerto Rico, not Wayne County, when he allegedly made the posts.
However, Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette, said there is a law that allows him to be charged as he did his best to alarm the audience at the press conference, warning those watching, “women and men in law enforcement are under siege.
“At times ridiculed or . . . worst yet, targeted for violence or death. And that’s wrong.”
Here are some more of Littleton’s Facebook posts.
“To those sniper’s in Texas, I commend your bravery and actions!!! #blacklivesmatter.”
“All lives can’t matter until Black Lives matter!!!! Kill all white cops!!!”
“Kill all white cops!!!”
“Kill all white cops!!!”
“Fuck that!!! Nobody called for prayer after Alton Sterling got shot to death!!! Fuck them police!!!!”
“Yes!!! #blacklivesmatter #purgeoncops.”
“Why isn’t that white man shot dead!!! #wakeupblackpeople # itsnotagame”
Dan Krobokin legal director for the ACLU asked,
“Would they be doing this if the Facebook posts were about anyone other than police? If not, then we have a problem. If somebody says all cops must die. There’s no individual who would rationally believe that threat was directed to them specifically. It’s going to create generalized anxiety in the department, but it wouldn’t meet the test of a true threat.”
Korobkin went on to explained that the First Amendment protects free speech that “can encourage illegal conduct and speech that may be disturbing to others. ”
Police Chief James Craig explained his reasoning for taking Littleton’s threats so seriously,
“My critics said, ‘Why are we worried about threats?’ We take threats serious. This is why we’re doing what we’re doing today. We have to support our men and women, not just locally but across this state who run to danger.”
Littleton never followed through with his rant and no police officers were reported to have been attacked because of his posts.