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Police chief facing federal charges after he reportedly threatened a man with fake charges for criticizing his management

Image source: WNEP-TV video screenshot

A Pennsylvania police chief has been charged with a federal crime after an area resident accused the chief of threatening him with bogus charges.

The man reportedly had been criticizing the chief on Facebook for the way he operated the department and its officers, according to a Tuesday report in The Washington Post.

What are the details?

According to the report, Brian Buglio, 45, threatened fake charges unless the man — identified as Paul DeLorenzo — deleted his critical post.

In 2020, Buglio, 45, reportedly called the man to the West Hazleton Police Department to deliver the ultimatum.

According to the outlet, Buglio is now facing federal charges in connection with that incident for "allegedly threatening a private citizen with criminal charges in retaliation for the social media posts" as documented in a lawsuit filed last week in the U.S. District Court with the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

DeLorenzo recalled asking the chief, "'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.'"

According to the outlet, some of DeLorenzo's posts included criticism that Buglio reportedly "had taken too long to make an arrest in a case he was involved with."

DeLorenzo also reportedly accused Buglio of committing a violent crime.

DeLorenzo told WNEP-TV, "He called me, left me a voicemail, and said that he was going to arrest me for a crime that was being investigated for something I've never even done or had any part of."

DeLorenzo said he showed up at the precinct to discuss the matter with Buglio at his request, during which time he was said to have "acknowledged that the threatened felony charges lacked merit," according to the complaint.

"By the end of the meeting, DeLorenzo agreed to take down the posts from the social media platform and to refrain from posting any other critical messages about Buglio and his force," the Post noted.

DeLorenzo told WNEP, however, that he almost immediately called the FBI to report Buglio's reported conduct.

What's next for police chief

On Thursday, federal authorities charged Buglio with one count of deprivation of civil rights. If convicted on the charge, he could spend up to one year in prison, and be forced to pay a $100,000 fine.

The outlet noted that Buglio has agreed to plead guilty according to court documents in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and said that he would resign from his position.

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