A District police officer accused of threatening Michelle Obama has been cleared of administrative charges related to the first lady but was found guilty of posting a derogatory job description on social media and depicting the president as a communist, his attorney said Monday.
Members of a departmental review board ruled that Christopher Picciano, a 17-year veteran who was a member of the elite presidential motorcade detail, should be suspended without pay for 40 days for conduct unbecoming an officer. His attorney, James W. Pressler, said his client is weighing an appeal. The city had sought to have Picciano fired.
“We’re pleased that he was exonerated of all allegations that he made threats against the first lady,” Pressler said. “He has maintained from the beginning that it was an off-the-cuff remark, a joke.”
The U.S. attorney’s office had declined to file charges against the officer, agreeing with the Secret Service that Picciano was not serious with his comment about Michelle Obama. But during the investigation, detectives found troubling though unrelated postings on the officer’s LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.
Those included a communist emblem — a hammer and sickle — superimposed over a campaign poster of President Obama and Picciano’s self-described job description as “zoo keeper of the MPD.” Angry with the D.C. Council over a vote to curtail pension benefits, Picciano wrote on Facebook about taking a rifle to a tall building.
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