Smith is suing Valdosta police for $700,000, saying officers used excessive force, broke his left wrist and violated his constitutional rights. Valdosta officials said they cannot comment on pending litigation. Police released body cam footage of the incident.
“City Council members, administration, staff and police department personnel have received threats of violence and death,” said Ashlyn Johnson, public information officer for the city. “Due to the nature of the threats, all information has been turned over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
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An FBI spokesman said the investigation is ongoing.
Johnson said there had not been any threats before June 22, the day the body cam video was released.
“It’s unfortunate – we have had to ramp up our security at city facilities and take precautions with our public safety officials,” she said.
Increased security was noted Friday at City Hall with a police check-in and Thursday at a Valdosta City Council meeting with officers wand-searching people.
Thursday, a call for violence against the families of Valdosta police officers had been tweeted several times by the same poster on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.