D.C. officer allegedly made threatening comments about first lady

A D.C. police officer who worked as a motorcycle escort for White House officials and other dignitaries was moved to administrative duty Wednesday after he allegedly was overheard making threatening comments toward Michelle Obama, according to several police officials.

The police department’s Internal Affairs Division is investigating the alleged comments and notified the U.S. Secret Service on Wednesday, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give details of the investigation.

The officer allegedly made the comments Wednesday morning as several officers from the Special Operations Division discussed threats against the Obamas. It was not immediately clear where the alleged conversation took place or how many officers took part in the conversation.

During that conversation, the officials said, the officer allegedly said he would shoot the first lady and then used his phone to retrieve a picture of the firearm that he said he would use. It was not immediately clear what type of firearm was allegedly shown.

An officer overheard the alleged threat and reported it to a police lieutenant at the division, who immediately notified superiors, the officials said.


Michelle Obama speaks at a May campaign rally in Ohio. (Scott Olson/GETTY IMAGES)

“We received an allegation that inappropriate comments were made. We are currently investigating the nature of those comments,” D.C. police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said in an e-mail. She declined to discuss the matter further.

Police officials declined to identify the officer. Officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.

In an interview Thursday afternoon, Kristopher Baumann, head of the D.C. Fraternal Order of Police, said he did not have details on the matter.

There was no indication of a legitimate danger to Michelle Obama.

A Secret Service spokesman declined to provide further details, saying in an e-mail that the agency was aware of the incident and “will conduct appropriate follow-up.”

The agency “respects the right to free speech,” said spokesman Brian Leary. “However, we have an obligation to determine the intent of the speaker.”

Police officials immediately reassigned the officer to other duties, the police officials said.

The Special Operations Division performs escorts for the first family and other dignitaries. Police escorts for non-dignitaries drew attention in April 2011 when D.C. officers accompanied actor Charlie Sheen from Dulles International Airport to DAR Constitution Hall when Sheen was running late to a concert.

Clarence Williams is the night police reporter for The Washington Post and has spent the better part of 13 years standing next to crime scene tape, riding in police cars or waking officials in the middle of night to gather information about breaking news in and around Washington.
Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
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