Phoenix filmmaker, Michael Turley, arrested after police claim he staged a terroristic threat

PHOENIX - A Phoenix man was arrested after he staged a terroristic threat in order to test police response time, according to the Phoenix Police Department.

In July, Michael Turley, 39, videotaped his 16-year-old nephew dressed from head-to-toe in a cloth and carrying a fake rocket launcher near the intersection of 33rd Avenue and Bell Road, police said.

The boy was pretending to be a terrorist.

When an officer arrived, Turley admitted that he and his nephew were making a movie, but did not disclose the nature of the video, said a police spokesperson. They weren't arrested.

This month, upon viewing the complete video on YouTube , Turley was arrested and charged with giving a false impression of a terrorist act, endangerment, contributing to the delinquency of a minor and misconduct of simulated explosive devices.

The teen is also facing possible charges.

Police said they arrived approximately one minute after receiving several 911 calls that day, but the video depicts the fake terrorist walking the street for nearly 15 minutes.

The video appears to be a type of public service announcement.

The summary on YouTube was originally designed for the filmmaker to remain anonymous as stated on the website:

The Anonymous Filmmaker explores how the Phoenix Police Department reacts days after the event at the Century 16 Movie Theater in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman, James Holmes, killed 12 people and injured 58 more at the premiere of Batman The Dark Knight Rises. In our Hollywood style video, a man resembling a terrorist paces around a busy street in Phoenix Arizona carrying a rocket launcher until the police apprehend him. This film explores the response time and reaction of law enforcement within the Phoenix rural community. You will be shocked to see what happens.

On September 5, on his Facebook page , Turley wrote, "Sometimes a person has to do something extreme to prove a point."

Below is the news release from the Phoenix Police Department:

On Saturday, July 28th 20912, at around 4:30 p.m., Phoenix Police received numerous calls to 9-1-1 with citizens advising that there was a suspect in the area of West Bell road and North 33rd Avenue pointing a gun, rifle or what appeared to be a rocket propelled grenade launcher (RPG) at citizens as they drove by. The citizens described the suspect as wearing what appeared to be a sheet wrapped around his body and some type of rag or towel on his head.

Officers responded to the intersection and the first arriving officer was guided by witnesses to the area of 3200 West Juniper Avenue. The officer observed one suspect, later identified as the 16 year old, wearing a sheet around his body and what appeared to be a rag around his head. The 16 year old suspect was also carrying what appeared to be an RPG. The officer also saw a second person, later identified as Michael Turley, in the process of video taping the child and the officer as he arrived. Other officers arrived to the area and both suspects were detained.

The initial investigation revealed only that Michael Turley and the 16 year old were "making a movie" and a motive for the filming was not determined.

During the continuing investigation, Phoenix Police detectives later gathered evidence that indicated Mr. Turley's actions were designed to test police response to a terrorist situation. On September 24th, 2012 Mr. Turley was arrested and booked into jail for the listed charges. Further evidence of the offenses was obtained by police during the service of a search warrant at the suspect's home.  

 

Print this article Back to Top

Comments