DENVER â€“ A Colorado Springs man faces federal charges for posting threats against police officers after Google alerted the FBI about a comment he had allegedly made on YouTube.
Jeremiah Perez, 33, was arrested Monday without incident. According to a news release from the US Department of Justice, Google contacted the FBI’s San Francisco office on Dec. 17 to report a threat made in the comments section of a YouTube video under the username “Vets Hunting Cops.” Authorities were able to trace the IP address associated with the comments to Perez’s home in Colorado Springs.
The threat Perez allegedly posted read, “SINCE DARREN WILSON our group has killed 6 retired sheriffs and cops……because of this event we will hunt two more in colorado this week…..for every innocent citizen that cops kill WE, VETERANS WILL KILL RETIRED HELPLESS COPS.”
It went on to say “COPS ARE THE REAL ENEMIES OF FREEDOM LOVING AMERICANS and TIME TO STRIKE BACK IN ALL OUT WAR IS NOW.”
FBI agents in Colorado Springs began surveillance on Perez’s residence on Dec. 17. They obtained a warrant to search his home a day later. Military records indicated that he was a member of the U.S. Armed Forces who was under investigation for a non-judicial military violation.
According to the criminal complaint against Perez, he admitted that he posted the comments during an interview with the FBI, and said “his intent was to engage YouTube viewers in conversation.”
During a forensic examination of Perez’s computer, the FBI says it found additional postings from “Vets Hunting Cops” that threatened police officers. The FBI says it also found searches on his computer that included phrases including “Kill Barack Obama,” “Kill Cory Gardner,” “Kill Darren Wilson,” “Hunt Darren Wilson’s Family” and “Locate Bill O’Reilly’s house.” During an interview with the FBI, Perez allegedly admitted to making these searches, but he didn’t intend on following through with them, according to the criminal complaint.
The FBI contacted Perez again on Dec. 22. According to a Department of Justice release, the FBI then determined Perez knew law enforcement officers would read his posts, and Perez wanted them to be afraid after reading them.
“The perceived anonymity of the Internet will not serve as a shield for espousing violence in violation of federal law,” Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle said in a news release.
Perez appeared in court Tuesday. He will be held in custody pending a detention hearing and preliminary hearing on Dec. 29.
He is charged with transmitting a threat in interstate and foreign commerce. If convicted, he faces up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine
(KUSA-TV Â© 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)