Alleged Facebook threats lead to arrest
Chris Sutton allegedly encouraged people to set ‘booby traps’ to harm officers
Thursday, April 13, 2017 4:00 AM
One Russiaville man received felony-level charges after allegedly encouraging the use of “booby traps” to injure police officers on social media.
According to a release from the Kokomo Police Department, on April 4 Chris Sutton, Russiaville, allegedly made a post on Facebook telling his followers that they had a “right” to intentionally injury officers on their property with the use of various “booby traps.” After the resulting KPD investigation, Sutton was charged with stalking, a level five felony, intimidation, a level six felony, and harassment, a class B misdemeanor.
A probable cause affidavit indicated that the department became aware of Sutton’s alleged post on April 5, and when an officer viewed the post it singled out a female code enforcement officer, who would be responsible for enforcing city code, including tagging and towing vehicles that are identified as abandoned.
According to the affidavit, Sutton wrote, “At least when the grass starts growing she will lay off the cars and get her handy dandy tape measure out and start writing tickets for that. Someone should set a trap or nail strips in the yards of next to their abandon cars to give her something to step on.”
The affidavit continues, and allegedly the post was endorsed by several individuals.
Sutton allegedly continued and made a post reading, “I like the board with the nails through it hidden in the grass better ... or a nice hidden animal trap. I would have to set up video surveillance just because I would wanna see it and replay and share it. (laughing emogi face). Yup!! I’m that a**!’ and ‘Yes … that’s why I say boobie trap it. Its your yard … u pay taxes.’”
It’s these posts, according to the affidavit, that drew concern from the police department.
Additionally, the department’s press release indicates that an investigation revealed “Sutton has been stalking this officer since 2014. In October of 2014, the officer conducted a traffic stop on Sutton as he followed her at the completion of her shift towards her residence in an aggressive manner. He was issued multiple traffic citations and pled guilty to the infractions.”
The investigation also allegedly found other posts of Sutton’s on Facebook where he photographed four vehicles tagged by the code enforcement officer on April 4. These pictures allegedly were posted on Facebook along with the posts including methods to injury police coming onto the property of taxpayers. According to the affidavit, the investigating officer concluded it was “likely Chris Sutton is actively following and pursuing” the code enforcement officer.
After speaking with the officer Sutton allegedly directed his comments toward, investigating Patrol Officer Jeff Packard then concluded in the probable cause affidavit he wrote that, in today’s society, the remarks could be taken seriously. As such, the investigating officer and the code enforcement officer Sutton allegedly targeted both feared for their safety while performing their duties, according to the affidavit.
“In today’s society, with the anti-police culture that has been bred, it is reasonable to assume that such statements will be taken in a serious context by some and acted upon,” wrote Packard in the affidavit. “Chris’ posts call for actions that could cause serious bodily injury to officers. These statements when viewed in totality with Chris’ previous history of harassment towards (the code enforcement officer), along with the responses, is clearly directed to incite, and is likely to incite, imminent lawless action and injury to law enforcement officers, and as such is not protected speech (Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969).”
A warrant was subsequently issued for Sutton’s arrest, and on April 7 he turned himself in at the Howard County Criminal Justice Center.
According to the KPD press release, individuals may have acted upon Sutton’s alleged post. As such, the department asks that anyone with additional information concerning the threats contact the KPD via 765-456-7017 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.