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Phoenix officer accused of threatening Mayor Kate Gallego won't face criminal charges

An October police report obtained by 12 News said five officers heard Officer Steven Poulos threaten to shoot up Gallego’s house if she "defunded the police."

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Attorney's Office announced Tuesday that it will not file criminal charges against Phoenix Police Officer Steven Poulos, who was accused of threatening Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in October.

The County Attorney's Office said it determined that it "cannot prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Officer Poulos' statements constituted a 'true threat' as defined by Arizona Law and the U.S. constitution."

"While the statements are inexcusable, legal precedent prevents a reasonable likelihood of conviction at trial and therefore, we are declining to file criminal charges in this case," a statement from the County Attorney's Office read.

The Phoenix Police Department told 12 News last week that Poulos is still on administrative leave and an internal investigation is still underway. That investigation is separate from the criminal investigation and will determine the future of his employment.

A police report obtained by 12 News said the threatening comments were allegedly made at a squad briefing on Oct. 12. 

A sergeant said he heard Poulos say, “If the mayor defunds the police, I’m going to shoot her.”

According to the report, five other officers were also in the room. They say Poulos threatened to shoot up Gallego’s house.

Multiple officers there describe him as being someone who “vents a lot.” He allegedly made the statement while discussing the response to protests downtown.

In questioning, the officers described the statement as inappropriate but didn’t know if he intended to act on it. 

The sergeant reported the incident after he says Poulos doubled down, calling the threat “a promise” and saying “someone’s gonna do it.”

In October, Phoenix police deemed the threat credible and Gallego was given security detail.

Poulos has more than 22 years of experience in law enforcement. 

Gallego's office released a statement regarding the decision that read:

"Mayor Gallego is disappointed. She appreciates the sergeant who made the initial report. The Mayor hopes this decision won’t discourage anyone from reporting a threat. It is important to speak up, be heard and be taken seriously."

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