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Racine man faces hate crime charges for Facebook posts

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-11 19:21:25-04

RACINE -- Prosecutors on Monday filed several charges, including hate crimes, against a Racine man for allegedly posting threatening messages targeting white police officers.

Byron Cowan, 43, was charged with Solicitation of Threat to Law Enforcement, Terrorist Threats, and Disorderly Conduct. The hate crime charges add an additional five years in prison, if convicted.

"Each and every one of these threats need to be treated as serious and credible," prosecutor Richard Chiapete told the court commissioner. "There is no place for this at all."

Court documents obtained by TODAY'S TMJ4 show Cowan allegedly wrote the posts last Friday, a day after deadly police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota - and before the deadly shootings of police officers in Dallas, TX.

According to the criminal complaint, Cowan declared, "I encourage every white officer to kiss their loved ones good-bye," and "You kill our children, we return the favor, shoot first," among other things.

A relative of Cowan's, who wished not to be named because of safety concerns, told TODAY'S TMJ4, "I would not have said those things because I try to think more than once before I speak. I think this was heat of the moment, emotions were high, emotions were on edge. Everyone had a bad day on Friday."

Cowan's family members added that Cowan does not own a gun.

He'll return to court for a preliminary hearing on July 20th.