A Pennsylvania police chief has plead guilty after he was charged for threatening to arrest a man who repeatedly criticized the chief and his police department on Facebook.
When making the threat, the chief suggested he'd make up phony charges against the man to "throw him in jail." That act constitutes a violation of civil rights, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
According to WNEP, West Hazelton Police Chief Brian Buglio called Paul Delorenzo into the police station for a meeting after Delorenzo accused Buglio of "commiting a violent crime."
He criticized the chief and his department for being "slow to make an arrest" in a case that involved Buglio.
Delorenzo told WNEP Buglio originally left him a voicemail urging him to come in for a meeting or he'd charge Delorenzo for a crime the department was currently investigating.
When Delorenzo met Buglio at the station, the chief made the same threat.
"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'."
Court papers state the meeting ended with Delorenzo agreeing to take down the critical Facebook posts. The two shook hands and parted ways.
However, Delorenzo reported the incident to the FBI. After an investigation, the FBI pursued charges against Chief Buglio.
Buglio entered into a plea agreement which, in addition to possible jail time and a six figure fine, brought another stipulation:
"The defendant agrees to resign the defendant's position as Chief of the West Hazleton Police Department within 10 days of the entry of the plea pursuant to this Agreement if the defendant has not already resigned in advance of the entry of the plea."
Multiple local news sources reported Buglio has indeed resigned.
Although the charges can bring a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a fine of $100,000, the plea agreement specifically stated the former police chief is unlikely to face such a steep punishment.
"At the time of sentencing, the United States will recommend that the Court impose no greater than the minimum term of imprisonment within the applicable Sentencing Guidelines range."
People on social media couldn't believe what little self control former Police Chief Buglio had.
Nick R. Fazio/Facebook
With social media not going anywhere anytime soon, it'll be important West Hazelton's new chief can turn their head when criticism comes their way.