Kirkland man arrested for threatening Ferguson officer

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

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A Kirkland man was arrested after making threats to kill Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, the officer who fatally shot Mike Brown.

Jaleel Tariq Abdul-Jabbaar, 46, was arrested Tuesday morning at his home . He's made his first appearance in U.S. District Court at 2 p.m. in Seattle.

Federal authorities said the Kirkland man “made repeated threats to kill an officer formerly with the Ferguson, Missouri Police Department, members of the officer’s family and other law enforcement officers.”

At the Kirkland apartment complex where Abdul-Jabbaar was arrested, people were stunned.

Mariam Zayas knows Abdul-Jabbaar. “It doesn't seem real, because he seemed real quiet and real nice, nice guy,” she said.

 “I'm shocked that someone would make a statement like that, it's just appalling,” said Alexander Lash.

Wilson's shooting of the 18-year-old Brown, and the Ferguson Police Department's response, generated outrage across the country. Chaotic protests gripped the streets of Ferguson and sparked a nationwide debate about race and law enforcement.

On Monday Nov. 24, the day a grand jury decided Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting, Seattle protesters clashed with police and blocked traffic on Interstate 5. In Seattle, five people were arrested in a Friday demonstration that disrupted the annual Westlake Center tree lighting and frightened children prepared to sing at the ceremony. 

Wilson resigned on Saturday. 

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch obtained a copy of Wilson's resignation letter, which reads in part, "I have been told that my continued employment may put the residents and police officers of the city of Ferguson at risk ... It was my hope to continue in police work, but the safety of other police officers and the community are of paramount importance to me."

According to the criminal complaint, Abdul-Jabbaar started posting threats on his Facebook page shortly after the August 9, 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, and continued through late November. 

Abdul-Jabbaar stated: “We need to kill [the officer] and anything that has a badge on,” and tried to use Facebook communications to acquire a firearm, federal authorities said.

Making interstate threats is punishable by up to five years in prison.  

“We are fortunate to live in a country where the right to speak out about current events and disagree with our government is protected by the highest law of the land,” Acting United States Attorney Annette L. Hayes said in a statement. “Our freedom of speech does not, however, extend to making threats to kill or injure law enforcement officers.”

People who live with Abdul-Jabbaar at his apartment complex said he never gave the impression that he cared about the controversy in Ferguson.

Never let on at all that he had any type of hatred of that sort,” said his next door neighbor.  She woke up early Tuesday morning when a SWAT team arrested Abdul-Jabbaar.

Wilson's lawyers previously told CNN it's practically impossible for Wilson to go back to work in law enforcement.

"There are death threats out against him, there are bounties that have been placed on his life. ... Realistically ... he can't go back to being a police officer. There's no illusion about any of this," lawyer Neil Bruntrager said.

Wilson's currently living in an undisclosed location, which his lawyer says will be his more-or-less permanent residence. The former officer was married a few weeks prior to the grand jury decision, and the couple is expecting their first child.  

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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