SCRANTON, Pa. — A former member of the Scranton Police Department is charged with making threats against other members of the force.
Thomas McDonald is charged with four counts of harassment and four counts of making terroristic threats. The alleged threatening text messages were made to members of the Scranton Police Special Operations Group (SOG).
McDonald is a former Scranton Police corporal and was a SOG member for 15 years, where he acted as a sniper and firearms instructor.
His arrest comes after allegedly threatening his former supervisor and other current Scranton police officers.
Those threats came in the form of text messages to Sgt.Thomas Carroll.
According to court paperwork, McDonald wrote:
"Just a heads up. I am planning to take it to your team. It will be out in the open not a house or building like you always train. You won't know when it's coming but it will come. I know your tactics and your personal. They don't have the Heart or fortitude to take me on. Everyone wanted to listen to rumors and throw me away. That's fine. Just be ready. Your team is weak and you know it. I can take you Brenzel and Monahan whenever I want. Thank Graziano for that."
"I think it's important that we investigate bad cops. They certainly are the few who tarnish the many who are proud to wear the badge. But we must police the police, and when a cop acts inappropriately, they're gonna be charged and held accountable," said Lackawanna County District Attorney Mark Powell.
Powell tells Newswatch 16 McDonald had been on administrative leave, and court papers show he was fired from the police department last week for an unrelated matter.
"And I assume that this was in response to that discharge. But clearly inappropriate and as a former law enforcement officer, he knew exactly what he was doing and what his conduct would cause," said Powell.
McDonald served as a member of Scranton's Special Operations Group (SOG) for 15 years. That's a team trained to respond to situations that would go beyond the capabilities of traditional law enforcement.
Sgt. Carroll is the current commander of that unit. He showed the texts to Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano, saying he was concerned something could happen to himself or his fellow officers, and that he wasn't sure what McDonald would do, according to court papers.
Chief Graziano sent the information to Pennsylvania State Police, and troopers made the arrest on Wednesday morning.
McDonald was fired last month after being on leave for a period of time.
Members of the state police arrested McDonald on Wednesday, and he is being held in Lackawanna County on $100,000 bail.