Court Battles

Police chief who threatened Facebook critic pleads guilty

A Pennsylvania police chief who threatened a Facebook critic with a false arrest if he failed to delete negative posts about him on Friday pleaded guilty to committing a federal civil rights violation.

According to federal prosecutors, Chief Brian Buglio of the West Hazleton Police Department threatened a private citizen during a meeting in March 2020, saying that he would pursue felony charges against the person for several social media posts they made. At the time, the person agreed to remove the posts and to no longer criticize the police department, The New York Times reported.

“During that meeting, Brian Buglio acknowledged that the threatened felony charges lacked merit,” court documents stated.

Paul DeLorenzo, who told a local ABC News station that Buglio threatened him, said he questioned the officer’s motives at the time.

“I said to Brian, ‘Why are you doing this?’ 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,'” the news outlet reported.

Buglio was charged with a civil rights violation on May 27. On Friday, he pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of civil rights and agreed to resign within 10 days of entering into the plea deal, the Times reported. 

The agreement, obtained by the Times, stated that Buglio will be required to pay a $100,000 fine and could serve up to a year in jail. 

Tags criminal charges Pennsylvania
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