Is This Ex-NYPD Officer’s Gun-Pointing Photo A Death Threat? Protesters Say Yes

Many on Twitter are calling a photo posted by an ex-NYPD officer a death threat. He says that people are overreacting.

In the ongoing protest movement over Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford, and others, demonstrators entered multiple dining establishments in New York City on Sunday to call attention to their message. They tweeted photos and information about the event with the hashtag #BlackBrunchNYC.

During and afterward, numerous others overtook the hashtag, tweeting suggestions that the protesters were jobless welfare recipients, among other things. In the midst of those posts came this.

By his own description, John Cardillo is a contributor to The Blaze, frequently appears on NRA News, is a “ranting investigative blogger” and is an ex-NYPD officer.

People quickly began tweeting about the photo, calling it, and the accompanying message, a death threat — from an ex-officer, no less.

Cardillo maintains that the photo is not a threat. Here is an earlier tweet from him about the protesters.

He went on to defend the tweet, suggesting that the image was less threatening than photos of people looting, though he didn’t offer any context about how looting related to either his gun pic or the Black Brunch NYC protest.

Is the ex-NYPD officer’s photo a legitimate threat? The image appears to take place in Cardillo’s own home, and the gun doesn’t appear to be aimed at anyone, other than the ex-officer’s own selfie cam, and the words attached are no direct threat. Further, the event he’s talking about is already over.

While many may read an implicit threat in the photo, it’s unlikely that it meets the bar for any type of investigation, and it certainly isn’t enough to merit charges. Whether it’s becoming behavior from an ex-NYPD officer, that is left to the eye of the beholder.