FBI, Pittsburgh police investigate YouTube video that threatened Zone 5 officers

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Pittsburgh police and the FBI are searching for two men accused of producing a rap video threatening two city police officers.

Rashee Beasley, 20, of Garfield, and Jamal Knox, 18, of East Liberty, both face charges of making terroristic threats, intimidation of witnesses, retaliation against witnesses and conspiracy.

Police said the two produced a YouTube video -- which has since been removed from the site -- that makes threats against officers in the city's Zone 5 station in Highland Park and calls out two officers by name. The video also references Richard Poplawski, who is currently on death row and was convicted of fatally shooting three officers from the city's Zone 5 station in 2009.

Both Mr. Beasley and Mr. Knox are scheduled to go to trial in February on firearms violations, a case that began when the officers named in the video arrested them in April.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard declined to comment on the video, saying that Chief Nate Harper does not want to draw further attention to the video's creators or "buy into their notoriety."

The FBI is assisting because the threat was Internet-based, but the city police intelligence unit is leading the investigation, Pittsburgh FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba said.

"We are aware of it, and we're ready to assist the Pittsburgh police whenever they need our help," she said.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1944 and on Twitter: @borntolede. Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com, 412-263-2533 and on Twitter: @MoriahBee. First Published November 16, 2012 9:15 AM


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