By Holden Walter-warner For Dailymail.com 15:12 28 Oct 2020, updated 15:12 28 Oct 2020
- Police officer is under investigation for threatening Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego
- Sources have identified the police officer as 22-year veteran Steve Poulos
- The cop in question has been assigned to the home while under investigation
- Mayor Gallego is one of three candidates running for mayor this November
- Gallego has recently been vocal about enacting police reforms, including instituting a citizen review board, in the wake of George Floyd’s death
A Phoenix police officer is under investigation for allegedly making a ‘credible threat’ against the city’s mayor Kate Gallego.
While the cop hasn’t been identified by local law enforcement, sources tell ABC15 the alleged culprit is Steve Poulos, a 22-year veteran of the force.
Fellow police officers reported the threat after the comment in question was made by the officer while on-duty. It’s not clear exactly what Poulos is alleged to have said.
Poulos told the news channel the allegations against him are ‘ridiculous’ and directed further questions to his lawyer.
‘You can think a lot of things, but you don’t get to verbalize them, especially as law enforcement,’ Retired Phoenix Assistant Chief Andy Anderson told ABC15. ‘This could very easily be a felony.’
The Phoenix Police Department released a statement earlier this week stating that a ‘criminal investigation is being conducted by the Tempe Police Department while the Phoenix Police Department’s Professional Standards Bureau conducts the internal investigation.’
It says steps have been taken to keep the mayor safe and the officer in question has been assigned to their home, meaning they won’t be patrolling the streets in the near future.
According to azfamily.com, the Tempe Police Department opened a criminal investigation on Friday.
Councilman Carlos Garcia pointed the finger at the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), the city police’s labor union who posted about ‘anti-police rhetoric’ on their Facebook page as recently as Tuesday.
‘This threat has been allowed by the behavior of PLEA,’ Garcia said.
The specific alleged threat has not yet been revealed, but Poulos stated to ABC15 that his comment has been misconstrued and ‘it’s not what I said.’
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Gallego has recently been vocal about enacting police reforms, including instituting a citizen review board, in the wake of George Floyd’s death which sparked protests across the country.
In the succeeding months, she has advocated for better transparency, more diversity in the police department, and more mental health resources for particular calls. This came after the establishment of an Office of Oversight and Accountability, per azcentral.com.
The mayor is facing two challengers in a November mayoral election: Merissa Hamilton (whose campaign page touts previous police reform success) and Tim Seay, who would like to improve relations between the police and the city.
This is not the first time threats have been made against the mayor of the major city.
FOX 10 Phoenix reports former mayor Phil Gordon began receiving threats in 2010 after clashing with then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio over the sheriff’s hardline tactics to combat illegal immigration, viewed as bigoted by many.
‘Those were risks that always came with the job,’ Gordon said to FOX 10.