Wednesday, October 05, 2016

African American Man in Detroit Charged for Facebook Post on Police Killings
Katrease Stafford
Detroit Free Press
4:46 p.m. EDT October 5, 2016

Photo: Mural of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who was killed by police prompting mass demonstrations throughout the United States and the world.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Detroit Police Chief James Craig jointly announced charges Wednesday.

A Detroit man who allegedly threatened the lives of police officers in a series of Facebook posts in July, urging people to "kill them all," is facing two felony charges, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Detroit Police Chief James Craig jointly announced today.

Nheru Gowan Littleton, 40, of Detroit was charged in 33rd District Court in Trenton with making a terroristic threat, and using a computer to commit a crime, both 20-year felonies.

"Women and men in law enforcement are under siege ... at times ridiculed or, worst yet, targeted for violence or death and that's wrong," Schuette said during a news conference at Detroit Police headquarters. "It was a tirade of hate and violence, hate and violence against police. This type of action endangers the public's safety."

According to Schuette, the threats were allegedly posted on social media by Littleton between July 8 and 9, saying  “F   them racist a     white cops!!! Kill them ALL!!! Black Lives Matter!!! Black people should start killing all white cops just like they are killing us!!! Then and only then will this s    stop!! Why you ask? Because white people will be dropping like flies!!!”

Over the course of those two days, Littleton allegedly posted direct threats to law enforcement officers on social media, according to the Attorney General's Office.

Littleton’s posts eventually received attention and were reported to the Dearborn Police Department by an unnamed Michigan resident, according to Schuette.

The Dearborn Police Department then issued a law enforcement information network message to all local agencies indicating that a significant threat had been made to the lives of police officers.

Littleton allegedly described himself as a “former killing machine at U.S. Marine Corps” on social media, has a valid concealed pistol license and owns a Smith and Wesson .45-caliber firearm, officials said.

"It's a fine line between peace and violence and as Michigan's chief of law enforcement officer, I stand with the police," Schuette said. "... I stand with the police. I am with them. I am with you."

The charges come months after Detroit Police announced in early July the arrest of four men who threatened to kill police in the wake of the mass shooting that killed five officers in Dallas.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy decided in late August that police hadn’t found enough evidence to charge three of the men — and the fourth man's case was sent back to police for insufficient evidence. In the statement, Worthy also took issue with how the investigations were handled.

“DPD has many fine investigators, but the work in the four Facebook cases was substandard,” Worthy said in a lengthy statement at the time.

She called the Facebook posts “disturbing,” but also said: “We cannot fly by the seat of our pants in charging cases.”

Wednesday, Worthy released a statement, saying: "It is my understanding that the Michigan Attorney General has charged only one of the multiple Facebook cases. That is certainly his prerogative. We stand by our decision in that case‎ and we will continue to advocate for needed changes in the applicable statutes."

After the request for charges were denied, Craig brought Littleton's case to Schuette for review after law enforcement agencies in multiple counties responded to the threats. Upon learning of the threats, more than a dozen police officers from multiple police agencies searched for Littleton, Schuette said.

"You remember I was very vocal about the threats to kill police officers," Craig said Wednesday. "We were waiting on a response and certainly we did not get that. Without hesitation, our attorney general stepped up and said we will review."

The threats allegedly posted by Littleton include the following:

7/8/16: “To those sniper’s in Texas, I commend your bravery and actions!!! #blacklivesmatter.”

7/8/16: “All lives can’t matter until Black Lives matter!!!!  Kill all white cops!!!”

7/8/16: “Kill all white cops!!!”

7/8/16: “Kill all white cops!!!”

7/8/16:  “F   that!!! Nobody called for prayer after Alton Sterling got shot to death!!! F    them police!!!!”

7/8/16: “Yes!!! #blacklivesmatter #purgeoncops”

7/8/16: “Why isn’t that white man shot dead!!! #wakeupblackpeople # itsnotagame”

7/8/16: If these racist a   white cops want to PURGE on Black Lives!!! Then let’s PURGE on these racist    a   white cops!!! I’m sick of this s  !!! If you don’t like what I said, UNFRIEND ME!!!! #rugonberue”

The three other men who allegedly made threats have not been formally charged.

In at least two of the cases, the men were already wanted for outstanding traffic warrants, and officers arrested them but failed to read them their Miranda rights before asking about their social media activity.

The first of those two, a 28-year-old man, reportedly posted a picture of the Dallas shooter, Micah Johnson, on July 9 and wrote, “He is my hero …he inspired me to do the exact same thing.” The man also wrote: “I hope I never cross path of racist cops again.”

But when he was questioned, the man told police that the posts were part of a joke with his father.

“I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t have said that (expletive),” the man said.

According to the prosecutor's office, one of the officers said at one point, “This is America. You can say whatever you want. You just have to make sure you say the right thing.”

In the second case, a 33-year-old man posted a video of the Dallas shooting and reportedly wrote, “This needs to happen more often … until the ppl are free from government terrorism.”

He also posted a picture relating to the Black Panthers saying, “cause I am loaded and I am ready,” adding emojis representing handguns.

When the man was taken into custody on July 10 — again, because of traffic warrants — he was not read his rights before being interviewed on tape about his statements.

The man told police he actually had no access to guns and “removed the three posts shortly after he put them on Facebook because he realized it was a stupid thing to do,” Worthy said in the statement.

An officer told him during the interview: “It is a free country and you can say what you want to say unless you have traffic warrants. Then instead of coming to you, now we ... can lock you up for warrants and talk to you here.”

A fourth case involving a 44-year-old was sent back to police for more investigation on July 16.

Last month, an ex-con with a lengthy criminal record was charged with using the Internet to threaten the lives of law enforcement after he allegedly threatened on Facebook to blow up a church during a slain Detroit police officer's funeral. The Detroit man, 21-year-old Deshawn Lanton, wrote: "Maybe I should drop a bomb on that(t) building to get rid of the rest of y'all."

According to a criminal complaint filed Sept. 28 in U.S. District Court, Lanton made the posts during the funeral of Detroit Police Sgt. Kenneth Steil, who was shot while pursuing a carjacking suspect on Sept. 16. Steil died five days later.

The threats were just a handful of a litany made within the past several months against officers across the country, said Detroit Police Officers Association President Mark Diaz, who said he's had to bury 20 of his fellow law enforcement individuals within the City of Detroit alone during his career.

Sharing a list of recent attacks against police within the past 48 hours, Craig detailed why his department takes threats seriously.

"My critics said, 'Why are we worried about threats?' " Craig said. "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.

"Capt. Steil, he was serving this city and was shot by an armed gunman and gave his life. Again, the threats today are serious. I can't stress it enough.  This is a good day in a sense that this threat is being taken seriously. I'm going to continue to push vigorously. My voice will continue to be heard on this matter."

Contact Katrease Stafford: 313-223-4759 or

No comments: