DC cop says threat to assassinate Michelle Obama was “just a joke”

A DC police officer, who allegedly made a threat, in front of five other officers, to shoot First Lady Michelle Obama – and who allegedly showed another officer a photo on his phone of the gun he was going to use – now says it was just a joke.

Interestingly, another police officer who was present says it sounded to her like a threat.  And that’s kind of her expertise, judging threats.

But it gets better.  The officer who allegedly made the threat works motorcycle escorts for the President, Vice President, and other dignitaries.

He’s now undergoing a disciplinary proceeding after the Secret Service determined no charges would be filed.

Judging by my experience with the Metropolitan Police Department, good luck punishing this guy.  There are a lot of great cops in the MPD, and a lot of horrifically lazy slackers.  The former don’t get much praise, and the latter rarely get punished, let alone booted.

MPD-logoThe same DC cop also wrote on his Facebook page in 2009 that he “felt like taking a rifle to a tall building,” because the DC city council cut pension benefits.  His attorney said, in his defense, that the Facebook post was old.  Uh huh.  Four years ago.  It was a youthful discretion.

The Washington Post walks us through more details:

Testimony indicated that the conversation turned to heavy traffic during a recent escort for Michelle Obama and then about her threat level. An officer at the table explained that “a lot of people want to kill her.”

Clark, a 24-year veteran still with the special operations division, said she expressed surprise at that statement, and Picciano said, “Yeah, because I want to kill her.” Clark said she twice asked if he meant it, and that he said yes, and then showed her the picture of the gun on his phone.

Pressler and another officer gave a different account, saying that Clark asked who would kill the first lady. Picciano answered, “I guess I would.” At that moment, Picciano was talking with a colleague about a birthday gift of a .40-caliber handgun, and he was calling up a picture of it on his smartphone. The other officer said the picture came up just as Picciano made the comment about Obama and was handing the phone across the table to the other officer, Pressler said.

I guess I would?  Who talks like this?  Especially a cop? And especially someone who’s on the detail to protect the President?  You joke about assassinating his wife?  Imagine keeping your job in the private sector if you “joked about” killing your boss’ wife.  Even better, imagine keeping your job if your job was to protect the boss’ wife.  I’d fire your ass in a millisecond.

Now, the officer is a 17 year MPD veteran.  So, you don’t want to just ruin someone’s career without significance due process.  The problem with the MPD is that there’s usually a lot of process, and not a lot of resolution.  Regardless of the outcome, I can’t imagine this person being permitted anywhere near the President, or any kind of security detail, in the future.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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22 Responses to “DC cop says threat to assassinate Michelle Obama was “just a joke””

  1. d3clark says:

    He should be permanently assigned to walk behind the DC mounted police, barefoot.

  2. mike31c says:

    Pig. Assholes like this have no business being a cop.

    So let me get this str8. If I tell everyone to slap t-baggers on the face with a phone book, I can get away with it because I said “It was a joke!”???

  3. Butch1 says:

    My thoughts as well. His “joke” no where near approaches “funny.”

  4. tomtallis says:

    Cleanup on aisle SPAM!

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  6. ckg1 says:

    And we the people are paying this jackass’s salary.

    That should end YESTERDAY.

  7. BeccaM says:

    Um, yeah, that was my immediate conclusion: This man needs not to be carrying a badge and gun, because with remarks like that, he clearly cannot be trusted.

    I can just about guarantee the Secret Service, even though they’re not going to file charges, will let MPD know they don’t want this officer on any presidential guard details.

  8. condew says:

    I see, so if ordinary people joke about a bomb in an airport, they don’t fly; but if a policeman on the detail to protect the first lady jokes about killing her himself, well then it was just a joke. This guy need to be reassigned to direct traffic, or not be a policeman at all anymore. And then watched very carefully.

    I guess the police have been looking out for the 1% long enough now that they think of themselves as privileged just like the 1%. Torture by pepper spray, torture by taser, and now threats of murder.

  9. Richard_thunderbay says:

    “It was just a joke. Can’t you take a joke?”
    — every asshole since the dawn of time

  10. cole3244 says:

    protect and serve my butt, just another rw police fascist turning america into a police state.

  11. Monoceros Forth says:

    Why hasn’t this man’s gun and badge been taken?
    They have been. Read the original story. He is, however, still drawing a paycheck.

  12. Butch1 says:

    DC cop is unstable and needs to lose his job.

  13. UncleBucky says:

    Yes. You can’t joke about “your wife” as in “Take my wife, please!” as in Henny Youngman’s famous tag line. You can’t even make a face to the TSA.

    So, direct threats to any public figure should not be protected speech right off the bat. Everyone should be taught about “jokes” these days. But by the same token, those who “joke” like that need to be educated about the nature of their “joke”. Perhaps not punished or tortured, hahaha, but certainly educated.

  14. pappyvet says:

    The wingnuts know very well that putting this crap out there is like throwing gasoline on a fire.

    They keep putting the hate speech out there and the loonies lap it up. An alarming rise in the number of hate groups since the President was first elected.The propaganda machine just keeps vomiting forth their violent rhetoric day after frothing day.

    Since Mr Obama took office, the rate of threats against the president has
    increased 400 per cent from President George W. Bush, according to Ronald Kessler, author of In the President’s Secret Service and is the target of more than 30 potential death threats a day.

    And we can put much of the the blame for this directly on the lies and hatred put forth by the rabid right whose most “christian” comments are eaten up by the 6000 year old Earth , black hellicopter crowd like it was dope.

  15. UncleBucky says:

    You make a very good point. When Reagan was shot, there were several others who suffered, and many more who were at risk from the nut.

    Now, to me, DIRECT THREATS against the President are DIRECT THREATS to those around him/her. It might not result in a long imprisonment, but certainly every statement like that needs to be analyzed and treated as serious.

  16. UncleBucky says:

    Now, officer, your job is now a joke. Easy.

  17. SkippyFlipjack says:

    “Holy shit Charlie, I got a good one for you. Knock knock.”
    “Who’s there?”
    “He’s gonna shoot Michelle Obama.”
    “He’s gonna shoot Michelle Obama, who?”
    “Me, that’s who! And I already got the gun picked out! Get it? Shit that’s a funny joke.”

  18. KingCranky says:

    What’s even more aggravating is that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled direct threats against the President are “protected speech”.

    US vs Bagdasarian

    I have an uncle who was a Secret Service agent for over 20 years, so threats against any member of the Presidential/Vice Presidential families infuriate me, as its the agents who bear the brunt when someone lashes out.

  19. nicho says:

    However, if you so much as say the word “bomb” in an airport, you are led out in shackles — no matter how much you say it was a joke. But again, this is just proof of the double — or even triple — standard in the US. If you’re a right-wing nutcase, you can get away with pretty much anything.

  20. NorthAlabama says:

    realizing i don’t know the specifics and haven’t seen an interview of any witness or accuser, on its face it seems this clown should, at the very least, be moved off the presidential detail.

    any cop would know it’s a crime to threaten the president, and poor judgment not to extend the courtesy to his spouse.

  21. Whitewitch says:

    I am so glad to be out of DC. I was often shocked by the response of police to anything including crime. An officer once told me he would be the first one heading out of town in a emergency – fine to think such a thing – but to tell a citizen the same while in uniform seemed a bit scary. BUT then I was shocked that there was not a secret dome over DC protecting it from crazy people (seriously during 9/11 I kept thinking where are the shields?)

  22. Jim Olson says:

    How soon before we see this asshat on the news for actually trying to assassinate the FLOTUS? Why isn’t Secret Service pressing charges? Why hasn’t this man’s gun and badge been taken?

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