Police have arrested and charged a 20-year-old man with a felony charge of terroristic threats after he got a tattoo featuring the name and badge number of an officer involved in gang investigations.
Antonio Fransion Jenkins Jr. is facing one count of terroristic threats for the benefit of a gang, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The tattoo on Jenkins' left bicep depicts a person holding a semi-automatic handgun with the barrel partially inside the mouth of a pig, which is wearing a police hat and uniform. A patch on the pig's right shoulder gives the badge number and name of a specific officer who is a member of a gang investigation team assigned to a territory claimed by the Bloods. Below the image, the tattoo reads, "F--- the police."
Police say Jenkins, who is a known member of the Bloods, posted a picture of the tattoo to Facebook with the message, "My tattoo iz a pig get'n his brains blew up." A total of 18 people "liked" the picture online.
Police also intercepted a prison call in which Jenkins bragged about the tattoo to another member of the Bloods.
Police say the officer and his family interpreted the posting as a direct threat against his life, and police stopped Jenkins in Minneapolis on Nov. 5. He admitted he asked someone else to give him the tattoo in his St. Louis Park home on Oct. 30 because he was angry with the officer over an incident on Aug. 19, 2011.
According to the criminal complaint, Jenkins acknowledged that others may be prompted to violence against the officer following the posting on Facebook.
"This is a very personal threat against an individual officer," said Sgt. William Palmer, with the Minneapolis Police Department. "Gang members, specifically to this gang, have acted on what others wanted done -- to use violence to fulfill those threats."
This isn't the first time that officer has been singled out by name either. On Sept. 30, an apartment commonly used by members of the Bloods showed a hand-painted penis, profanity and the officer's name.
Yet, the arrest is also sparking questions about whether or not a person can face criminal charges for what some may consider to be art.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told FOX 9 News in no uncertain terms that the tattoo is not art because it is a specific threat. Add in the fact that Jenkins promoted his tattoo on social media, and the result is a felony charge.
Although police hope the charge sends a message, they admit that this type of threat is a first -- and it's a first for those who work at Rose of No Man's Land in Woodbury.
"The idea that you can charge someone for an image on their body would have been unfathomable to me, but this person crossed a line that I didn't think anybody would ever cross," tattoo artist Josh Edwards told FOX 9 News.
Edwards explained that doing that kind of work would give his business a bad name, and was glad to hear the suspect had it done at his home instead of at a tattoo parlor.
"I think this person will eventually regret his tattoo as much as everybody else regrets him getting it now," Edwards added.
While he's never had a request to tattoo a specific threat, Edwards said he has turned away clients before who asked for white power art work.
"It's promoting something in society that just shouldn't be promoted," he said.