Man tests police terrorism response

BOB CHRISTIE
Last updated 11:30 27/09/2012
Fairfax NZ

A Phoenix man is facing prosecution after he dressed his nephew in a sheet and sent him into a busy street with a fake grenade launcher.

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A Phoenix man dressed his nephew in a sheet and sent him into a busy street with a fake grenade launcher, filming the masked teenager pointing the weapon at passing cars to see how long it took police to respond, authorities said.

Michael Turley was arrested Monday, nearly two months after the bizarre film was posted to YouTube. He posted US$5000 bond and was released.

In the film, the narrator, who police identified as Turley, said he wanted to see how long it took authorities to respond to a terrorist incident. The introduction to the video mentions the July 20 theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that killed 12.

‘‘Given this event, I wanted to run a little test here in Phoenix, Arizona,’’ Turley said.

‘‘I want to find out how safe I really am, and I want to know the response time of the Phoenix police department.’’

The YouTube clip shows the masked teen marching back and forth at an intersection with the rocket-propelled grenade launcher on his shoulder.  The first officer finds Turley and the teen in a neighbourhood, standing in Turley’s driveway.

The officer calmly tells the boy to put down the weapon and Turley to put down the camera. He doesn’t draw his gun.

Officer James Holmes, a police spokesman, said Turley told the officer they were just filming a movie, and the officer took down their names and left. 

After interviewing people who called police and later seeing the video posted on YouTube, police arrested Turley.

‘‘It surprised us that he actually put that video on YouTube,’’ Holmes said.

The police response took just over three minutes from the first call, and a helicopter and commando team was dispatched as backup, Holmes said.

Turley, 39, doesn’t have a listed phone number. He didn’t immediately respond to messages sent through the YouTube account. 

Police also are recommending charges against the teen, whose name was not released because he is a minor.

Turley was charged with creating a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misconduct involving simulated explosives.

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- AP

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