DENVER (CBS4)– Security for Denver judges was recently stepped up after an area activist live-streamed a rant urging “the random shooting of judges… execute them, and don’t forget to shoot the police.” The disturbing message from Eric Brandt, an anti-police, anti-government activist, came after he was kicked out of Denver’s downtown courthouse Aug. 9 for not wearing shoes.
Nick Rogers, President of the Denver Police Protective Association said of the video, “mental illness or the First Amendment are not excuses for this vile and despicable behavior. Society needs to stand up and say this behavior won’t be tolerated.”
Brandt, who has a 25-page criminal record, is a regular government agitator, who customarily livestreams his interactions with officials.
In the Aug. 9 incident, as he left the courthouse shoeless, Brandt said, “this is why I now advocate for the random shooting of Judges… the only way to hold tyrants like that accountable is to execute them; shoot random judges. You shoot a couple of Judges a year and those (expletives) will shape right up.”
At last check on Sept. 4, the video had been viewed 5,450 times since Brandt posted it to the internet.
Denver law enforcement and judicial sources confirmed to CBS4 that Brandt’s threats led to stepped up security around the downtown Denver courthouse and around the homes of Denver judges.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office declined to discuss if it was looking into Brandt’s threats.
Carolyn Tyler, Communications Director for the Denver D.A. told CBS4, “Because our office has open cases involving Mr. Brandt, it is improper for us to discuss this issue.”
An FBI spokesperson also declined to comment on whether or not the agency was involved in investigating Brandt’s comments.
“I found it offensive and somewhat irresponsible,” said Steve Zansberg, a Denver-based attorney who is an expert in First Amendment law.
He said he believed Brandt’s words brought him close to a criminal charge, but not quite over the line.
For speech to be criminal, said Zansberg, “The courts have held that it has to be a call to immediate action and clearly that’s not what Mr. Brandt is doing. Here he is not calling for imminent lawless action and it’s not targeted to any particular individual. He’s walking right up to the line.”
Brandt told CBS4 he did not believe his speech had crossed into the criminal realm.
“It’s not a crime to advocate for lawlessness, it’s a crime to incite immediate lawlessness,” Brandt said.
Brandt also told CBS4 he had not been contacted by any members of law enforcement about the Aug. 9 livestream.
However, Rogers, the police union president, didn’t believe there was a gray area in the threats, saying, “if he needs help get it, if he is a bad person lock him up.”