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Ex-police chief pleads guilty in civil rights violation case

June 22, 2021 GMT

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A former northeastern Pennsylvania police chief has pleaded guilty to a civil rights violation in what authorities said were threats to retaliate against a social media critic by filing unfounded criminal charges.

Brian Buglio, former police chief in West Hazleton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of deprivation of civil rights.

Federal prosecutors said the 45-year-old Lattimer Mines resident made the threat against a borough resident whose February 2020 Facebook posts were critical of Buglio and his police department.

Defense attorney Fortunato Perri, Jr. told reporters outside the courtroom that his client had accepted responsibility and was “extremely remorseful for his conduct.”

The plea agreement required Buglio to resign as police chief. He could be sentenced to up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine but prosecutors said they are recommending a sentence of no more than six months in prison.

The West Hazleton website said Buglio had worked since 1996 for the department of four full-time and four part-time officers.