An immediate call to kill law enforcement is popping up on social media. The online threats appear to be in retribution for an officer involved shooting where a fugitive and his girlfriend were killed by members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force.
The controversy surrounds the shooting deaths of fugitive, Christopher Stout and his girlfriend Stacie Stout. At least seven officers opened fire on their vehicle killing them both back in April.
Since then, hundreds of comments have been posted to websites but the comments made by one group are particularly concerning for law enforcement.
"When we hear a threat toward any of our officers, of physical harm to them or their families, yeah we take it very serious," Mark Nelson speaks for many officers when he says they're wary of the recent posts made by Southern Oklahoma Cop Block.
Nelson is Vice President of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, and is putting members on alert after hearing about a group apparently trying to organize retaliation against law enforcement.
Several comments were made in response to the deaths of Christopher and Stacie Stout, the couple shot by police when Christopher Stout allegedly tried to run from authorities in southeast Oklahoma City.
Soon after, Southern Oklahoma Cop Block posted, "cops are killers…time to start shooting back." Followers of the group apparently agreed and replied with things like "the only good American cop is a dead one."
Nelson was surprised to hear the comments.
"This stuff is not completely uncommon, but when they're specific to an all call and we need to start shooting police, it certainly gets our attention," Nelson said.
According to first amendment attorney Bob Nelon the threats do not appear to be illegal.
"Unless it is targeted to a specific police officer or a particular group, I think it's going to be considered protected speech," Nelon said.
Mark Nelson believes most citizens understand that cops are protectors, not killers,
" I would like to think that maybe the folks who feel this way are a minority," Nelson said.
We tried several times to contact the administrators of the online group that initiated these comments, but did not immediately receive a response.
We also checked with a number of law enforcement agencies around the metro about the postings. Only one agency had knowledge of the threats but has not investigated.