‘I’m going to shoot her’: Cop under investigation for reportedly threatening Phoenix mayor

Authorities in Arizona are investigating a police officer for threatening to assassinate the mayor of Phoenix in a dispute over taxpayer funding of his department.

"On the afternoon of October 21, seven Phoenix police officers gathered for a briefing in a Cave Creek station when the meeting diverged into a discussion about the defund-the-police movement. When Officer Steven Poulos expressed his thoughts, the room went quiet: "If the mayor defunds the police, I'm going to shoot her," Poulos' sergeant recalled hearing the officer say, referring to Mayor Kate Gallego," The Arizona Republic reported Monday.

"You're not going to shoot the mayor," the sergeant reportedly replied.

"That's a promise," Poulos allegedly responded.

The newspaper noted some officers had slightly different recollections.

"If they defund us, the first person on my list is the mayor," one officer reportedly remembered.

"If they defund the police, I'll go over the mayor's house and shoot it up," a different officer recalled.

Poulos reportedly told his sergeant after the meeting that he was only joking about shooting the mayor.

"The comments, whether made in jest or not, were taken seriously. The Phoenix Police Department asked Tempe police to criminally investigate the case. Phoenix police also opened an internal affairs investigation to determine if Poulos violated any policies. That report has not been released," the newspaper reported. "The Tempe police detective has forwarded the report to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which will decide if it will prosecute Poulos. The case was submitted for review of charges of making a terrorist threat and threatening or intimidating someone, according to the police report."

Poulos appears to be unfamiliar with the mayor's political stances.

"Poulos's comments were made as some City Council members and advocates have demanded transparency and accountability from the Phoenix Police Department in police shootings and for police misconduct. While Gallego has been supportive of creating a civilian oversight office to review police shootings and excessive force claims, she has not supported cutting the Police Department's budget," the newspaper reported. "In fact, Gallego, and the City Council, has voted to increase the Police Department's budget in June and last year, when she became mayor."

State Rep. Norma Torres said the remarks sound "like a terrorist threat."