West Hazleton Police Chief resigns after being charged with civil rights violation

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Chief Brian Buglio is accused of threatening a private citizen with criminal charges over a critical Facebook post

WEST HAZLETON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — According to West Hazleton Borough Solicitor Chris Slusser, Brian Buglio has resigned from his position as West Hazleton Police Chief. Slusser tells Eyewitness News the borough has no other comment at this time. Buglio had to resign as part of his plea agreement with federal authorities.

According to a release from the Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler Middle District of Pennsylvania, West Hazleton Police Chief Brian Buglio, 45, of Lattimer Mines has been charged with violating a citizen’s civil rights.

According to the criminal information, it is alleged that Buglio threatened a private citizen with criminal charges in an apparent retaliation for a Facebook post critical of Buglio and the West Hazleton Police Department.

“The case was investigated by the Scranton Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Public
Corruption Task Force, which consists of members of the Pennsylvania State Police and the
Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, and federal agents from the FBI and Internal Revenue
Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Phillip J. Caraballo is prosecuting the case,” the release stated.

According to Federal Court documents obtained by the I-Team the incident began in February of 2020 when an unnamed individual posted negative comments about Buglio and the West Hazleton Police Department on Facebook.

According to those court documents, on March 4th of that same year Chief Buglio met with the individual at the West Hazleton Police station, at Buglio’s direction.

At that meeting, federal investigators say Buglio threatened to file a felony charge against the individual unless he halted his criticism on Facebook.

The individual agreed to stop the posts and according to the court documents, Buglio and the person shook hands to finalize the deal.

Buglio admitted at that meeting that the threatened federal charges that lacked merit, according to the documents.

The I-Team spoke with Paul Delorenzo. He says he is the person Buglio threatened.

“I think he should lose his job in law enforcement. Never have any job in law enforcement. If there is anyone else out there in same situation where you better shut your mouth or you’re going to jail, please come forward,” Delorenzo told us.

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