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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

FBI Seizes Computers of Portland Blogger For Allegedly Posting Sheriff Death Threat

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Feb 22, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Clifton Brooks
  • Clifton Brooks
FBI agents swooped into a home on NE 65th and Prescott Monday morning, seizing computers the agents believe were used to post death threats about controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The accused blogger, Clifton Dawayne Brooks, allegedly ran a blogspot site called "Targeting Cops." According to the FBI search warrant, he is an active commenter on various Portland sites, including Indymedia and here on Blogtown, using variations of the name "Damos Abadon." Our then-news editor Matt Davis wrote a story about Clifton Brooks' altercation with police on SE Belmont back in 2008.

According to the FBI search warrant (pdf), the case began on January 8th, when a Maricopa County Sheriff Deputy named William Coleman was shot and killed while following up on a burglary call outside Anthem, Arizona. The next day, someone called in to the sheriff's office to report that a blog, the now-removed had posted a gleeful note about Coleman's death and called for the death of Sheriff Arpaio, a nationally controversial figure who most recently made headlines for unfairly targeting Latinos.

From the search warrant:


The FBI asked Google to give them all the information the company had about the Targeting Cops blogger, but Google refused and said that without a formal search warrant, they would only release the email address associated with the account (

FBI investigators meant business: They got a search warrant and flew to the Mountain View headquarters of Google to serve it in person. Google relented and gave the investigators the IP address that had posted to the Blogspot account and had registered the Gmail account. The name registered with the Gmail account was Daemous Abadonus.

The IP address was registered with Comcast, so the FBI asked Comcast for the name and billing address of the account holder, which Comcast readily supplied: Clifton Brooks, of NE 65th and Prescott. During a previous encounter with police, Brooks had given officers the pseudonym Damos Abadon (in 2001, Brooks was convicted of making a bomb threat in a blog post, which qualifies as "interstate commerce" because the post travels across state lines).

At 6am on Monday, federal agents raided Brooks' house and seized several computers, along with something they initially thought was a bomb, but turned out to be a prop.

Thanks to commenter Graham for the tip on all this!

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