The Federal Bureau of Investigation Cleveland Division told newsnet5.com agents are working to trace the origins of a threatening poster that offers a reward for killing Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty.
The poster was circulated through McGinty’s neighborhood and in downtown Cleveland over the last week.
It offers a $500,000 reward for “proof of kill” and included a home address. newsnet5.com has redacted the address printed on the flyer.
FBI Special Agent Vicki Anderson told newsnet5.com that the agency was made aware of the posters several days ago because the message originated online.
“That is traceable and that’s something that obviously we have the technology to be able to do,” Anderson said.
Anderson said that the specific language — calling for the killing of McGinty — crosses over the line of free speech.
“To say that you’re going to kill someone, to advocate the killing of someone and paying someone for that kill is definitely against the law,” she explained.
Anderson couldn’t comment on the specifics of the ongoing investigation but said that it could result in either state or federal charges if the perpetrator is apprehended.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office has not released a statement on the threats.
“We’re referring all questions about threats to law enforcement,” a spokesman told newsnet5.com.
The FBI confirmed that Cleveland police are keeping an eye on McGinty. A police car was stationed in front of McGinty’s home on both Thursday and Friday.
“The Division is aware of threats made and we are working jointly with the FBI to investigate further,” Detective Jennifer Ciaccia told newsnet5.com.
The poster includes the phrase “put wings on prosecutors,” an apparent nod to the anti-police “put wings on pigs” movement that has surfaced across the country.
Most notably, the man who shot and killed two New York City police officers in December 2014 posted the phrase on social media hours before shooting the officers at point blank range.