PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A Portsmouth Police officer received a threatening text message, which also threatened a Portsmouth business.
10 On Your Side will not be naming the officer who received the message or the business mentioned in the threat.
Part of the threat said this was the first and last warning for the department. The threat centers around the security work some officers do for local businesses – like clubs or lounges – while off duty.
Court documents revealed the Jan. 26 message sent to the city-issued cell phone of a member of the department.
Part of the text has been redacted to protect the identity of the officer, the business and to omit expletives used in the message. The message started off with the following.
“Portsmouth Police this is a threat an a promise gang is tired of y’all protecting these so call gangsta gang members that need to die. they want to hide in the clubs and byobs cause y’all outside of those establishments.”Anonymous threat sent on 1/26/23
The text warns officers to not provide security to certain businesses so officers don’t, quote, “suffer the consequences.”
The threat even names a specific business along George Washington Highway, specifically telling officers to definitely stay away from it.
10 On Your Side also discovered a transcript from a public permit hearing for a Portsmouth business in the area.
The transcript described part of the security plan for the lounge, which could resemble the security plan for other businesses in the area.
During the permit hearing, the business owner said they would have security cameras inside and outside the business. They’ll also have six off duty officers providing assistance in addition to 12 hired security guards. Both a metal detector and wand would be used for anyone going into the building as well.
10 On Your Side also spoke to two local business owners in the area of George Washington Highway about the threat.
They didn’t want to go on camera, but said they hadn’t heard anything about it.
Portsmouth Police told us Friday they are actively investigating the threat and taking proactive measures to ensure officers’ safety.
The identity of who sent the message is still unknown at this time.