Alabama city council member denies he threatened cop who pulled him over

Published 10:06 pm Friday, February 11, 2022

A city leader from a south Alabama town has pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of using his local radio show to threaten a police officer who pulled him over.

Evergreen City Council member Luther James Upton, 74, entered the plea on Wednesday, WALA-TV reported. He was indicted on a charge of making threatening interstate communications in November.

Upton, who state court records show has had several traffic tickets through the years, allegedly went on a local radio show he hosts on May 18 urging Evergreen’s mayor and police chief to “get rid” of an officer who was only identified by initials in the indictment.

‘“I dare him to stop me again. ’Cuz when he pulls me over, I’m going to put him down. I’m just telling ya now, I’m tired of it.”’ the indictment quoted Upton as saying.

The defense contends Upton’s statements weren’t a real threat of harm, arguing that the First Amendment protects speech that’s “hyperbolic, inflammatory, shocking, or crude.”

A defense request to dismiss the case against Upton compared his remarks to those of celebrity Kanye West threatening on Twitter to beat Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson, who dates West’s former wife Kim Kardashian, and former President Donald Trump implying that supporters could use a “Second Amendment” solution if Hillary Clinton were elected president.

Upton could face as long as five years in prison and a $250,000 fine if convicted, records showed.