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Cop held for threat to shoot President

Tampa (Florida), Aug. 29 (AP): A police officer who mouthed off while picking up his uniform at the cleaners has been indicted on a charge of threatening President George W. Bush for allegedly saying he would shoot him and his father if someone gave him the bullets.

Joseph Mazagwu, 35, surrendered on Friday on charges of threatening the President and lying to investigators. The rookie officer has been suspended from the force and could lose his job.

If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison. He had no comment after his first court appearance and was released on $25,000 bail. The prosecutor said there was no evidence Mazagwu pursued the threat.

His lawyer, Deeann Athan, said the charge stemmed from “a huge misunderstanding”.

On July 15, a day before Bush visited Tampa, Mazagwu was picking up his dry cleaning when the owner asked if he would be part of the President’s security detail. The 11-year US army veteran and Nigerian native answered he would not work it under any circumstances and criticised the war in Iraq and US policies in Africa.

Assistant US attorney Robert ’Neill alleged Mazagwu said: “The President needs to be shot. His father needs to be shot. If someone gave me bullets, I would do that.”

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