WASHINGTON -- District of Columbia police have stripped an officer of his police powers and gun as they investigate his alleged threat against First Lady Michelle Obama, the district's police chief said Friday.
Police and the Secret Service have not yet determined precisely what was said by the officer or his intent, Police Chief Cathy Lanier said.
During a Wednesday breakfast with other officers, police officials have said, the officer threatened to shoot the First Lady.
A genuine threat would be a crime and would be referred to the U.S. attorney's office for prosecution, Chief Lanier said. A comment made in jest would be disciplined as conduct unbecoming an officer, she said.
The officer under investigation, whom authorities have not identified, works on motorcycle escorts and has been with the force for about 17 years, Chief Lanier said. She said he was put on paid desk duty after the alleged threat was reported to a supervisor by another officer.
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday that President Obama was aware of the alleged threat.
At the same time, a federal judge in Alabama sentenced a man to more than 15 years in prison for plotting to kill President Obama.
U.S. District Judge Abdul Kallon imposed the sentence on Ulugbek Kodirov, 22, of Uzbekistan. Written and oral court pleadings showed Kodirov, whose parents are professionals who worked for the government in Uzbekistan, was accepted to study medicine at Columbia University in New York but never enrolled because his English was too poor.
He moved to Alabama for a job and worked at the Riverchase Galleria in suburban Hoover, where the defense said he used his laptop and free Wi-Fi service to connect with extremists who turned him against the United States.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Whisonant said Kodirov would have tried to kill Obama and a foreign group would have taken credit had he not been arrested a year ago.
Kodirov pleaded guilty in February to threatening to kill the President, providing material support to terrorism, and unlawfully possessing a firearm.