Greeley police Thursday served controversial local school board member Brett Reese with a restraining order. Officers were acting on a request filed by Greeley radio station KFKA owner and General Manager Justin Sasso, who said Reese made a phone call to the station threatening a “shoot out.” Reese told media outlets this week that he would carry his .45 caliber pistol with him even to school board meetings to defend himself against would-be attackers. He said he has received threats since news broke that he was airing a white-nationalist anti-Martin Luther King Jr message at his own “Pirate” radio station in Greeley. Reese reportedly threatened Sasso with the “shoot out” after KFKA began wooing Reese’s Pirate radio advertisers.
As reported by KFKA:
[Reese] threatened “a shootout” after KFKA employees began having discussions with businesses that purchase underwriting time on his non-commercial station. Reese was served the temporary restraining order this (Thursday) afternoon, after leaving the threatening voicemail for KFKA owner/General Manager Justin Sasso Wednesday. The matter is due for further court action a week from Friday.
Reese made clear, to multiple media outlets earlier this week, his plans to begin carrying a gun, ostensibly for protection, claiming he had received death threats. He has recently been airing a commentary critical of Martin Luther King, Jr., which was originally penned by a white supremacist group, whose website Reese encouraged listeners to visit. The commentary’s claims have been reviewed multiple times by historians, labeling it, at best, full of “half truths”.
Reese never filed any report with police on the threats he said he has received. He has played the five-minute anti-King message repeatedly in the weeks leading up to Martin Luther King Jr Day for the last three years. The text of the message is the same as the text posted at MartinLutherKing.org, a site hosted by white-power group Stormfront. The message in various forms has been circling the Web for years, but Reese said he received the message in the form of a letter from a listener and that he had no idea it was being pushed by white nationalists. Stormfront makes no bones about its ideology. Its homepage trumpets videos by white power national figure David Duke and states plainly that Stormfront is a “community of White Nationalists.”
Reese has said the MLK message is about “critical thinking” and in a rambling Wednesday op-ed at the Greeley
TribuneGazette said his fellow DJs at The Pirate have suffered financially as a result of the scandal. He added that he will not back down, saying that he “refuses to live a life of mediocrity.”
Listen to Reese’s anti-MLK message here.
Reese’s fellow District 6 school board members have released a statement (pdf) condemning his comments and distancing themselves from his “behavior and its unfortunate effects.”
[W]e find [Reese’s] actions and expressions to be inflammatory and detrimental to our district and the community. As word has spread throughout the region of his behavior and statements, our district and the communities of Greeley and Evans have been cast in a negative light.
Because of this, we feel we must state clearly tonight that the District 6 Board of Education supports the national Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We support the honoring of Dr. King as a leader in the Civil Rights movement, and of his messages promoting a nation united in equality, peace and reconciliation.