|Cleveland Heartless Felons gang|
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Heartless Felons gang gave its members orders to kill white police officers to avenge black lives taken by white police officers, including the Nov. 21 Tamir Rice shooting, officials said.
Detectives determined the threat was unsubstantiated after they investigated a screen shot of an email that spread through social media.
The Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office received the tip and deemed it credible enough to reach out to local police departments to make them aware of the threat.
Sheriff's office spokesman John O'Brien would not say where or when they got the tip.
O'Brien said the sheriff's office declined to give specific information about the threat for fear that it would benefit the gang.
Akron Police Chief James Nice said his department received notification of the Heartless Felons' threat about a week ago via a police bulletin. Nice said the threat was among the reasons he decided to have patrol cars staffed with two officers, instead of one.
"It was in the mix," Nice said. "We knew there are people like the Heartless Felons who are angry and yell to kill cops."
He said most of Akron's gangs tend to be neighborhood gang with no national or regional affiliation. He said he believes the Heartless Felons gang is so expansive that some may operate in Akron.
"We just want our officers to be on heightened alert," Nice said. "We need to remain tactically alert of surroundings when a threat like that is made. This gang is absolutely violent. It's not a threat with no substance."
The fast-growing Heartless Felons gang has its roots in local juvenile prison systems but has spilled out to the streets of Cleveland.
It's the second largest prison gang in the state and its members are known for terrorizing detention centers. Various street crimes have been connected to the gang as well.
Officials at Bedford and Maple Heights police departments said they have heard rumblings of potential upheaval, but said they were not given any notification of specific threats.
The Solon Police Department posted a safety notice for its officers regarding the threat.
"This is a time period of turbulence and unrest that we have not experienced in a long time," the notice says. "Be extra careful to watch your backs, on duty and off."
A spokesman for the Cleveland Division of Police said he was not aware of the threat.
Cleveland officer Timothy Loehmann fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice on Nov. 21 when he responded to a call about a man with a gun near Cudell Recreation Center. The gun later proved to be an airsoft-type pellet gun and the shooting is under review by CDP's use of deadly force investigation team.
Steven Dettelbach, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, denounced the threats from the gang.
"Violence of any type aimed at people in this community is unacceptable, illegal and immoral," Dettelbach said. "Furthermore, any such action is counterproductive as a means of addressing real and serious issues facing our community."
Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Adam Ferrise contributed to this story.
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.