Woodstock man accused of threatening police released from county jail

Brandon Smith

A judge declined Saturday to keep detained a Woodstock man arrested the previous day who had been accused of threatening to harm two police officers and to knock out the police chief’s teeth.

Brandon Smith, 39, of the 600 block of Brink Street, is charged with three counts of threatening a public official, a Class 3 felony, according to Woodstock police and the criminal complaint filed in McHenry County court.

Smith, arrested at his home 7 a.m. Friday by Woodstock officers and the McHenry County Multi-Jurisdictional SWAT Team, police said in a news release, made his first court appearance Saturday before Judge Kevin Costello after being held in McHenry County jail overnight.

Assistant State’s Attorney Anthony Marin argued that Smith is a “real and present threat” to the community and the officers he threatened noting voice mail messages he allegedly left at Woodstock City Hall.

Smith is accused of making “a confrontational phone call” to Chief John Lieb on March 5 “containing a threat to knock out Woodstock police officers when they respond to his residence and knock out Chief Lieb’s teeth,” according to the complaint.

Smith also is accused of leaving messages on a city voicemail March 26 threatening two police officers. According to the complaint, Smith said: “I am going to be aiming for them,” “If they come to my house again, I will treat it as a threat, and I will use violence against them,” and “I will do physical harm to them.”

According to the complaint, he also said, “I don’t care if it’s in a public place or on a call; if those two officers come near me again, I will take it as a personal threat, and I will [expletive] do harm defending myself.”

Marin said Smith made incriminating statements that sounded like he was going to shoot at the officers with a firearm and no conditions of release would keep the officers or community safe.

“He will do what he says he will do to the officers,” Marin said.

The assistant public defender appointed to represent Smith said he did not believe Smith to be a threat and noted he scored low on a risk assessment.He also has a job, children and has lived in the community for 15 years, the defense attorney said.

Costello said “the court struggles” to find a “real and present threat” required to detain him. He ordered Smith be released with conditions including surrendering all firearms and his Firearm Owner’s Identification Card. Smith said he had already done that. The Woodstock police news release about Smith’s arrest noted his FOID card “had been revoked previously due to a separate ongoing issue.”

Costello also ordered he have no contact with the officers or police chief he allegedly threatened. He further ordered Smith to complete and file with the court an anger evaluation within 21 days and follow all recommendations.

Of Smith’s arrest, authorities wrote in the news release: “Due to the threatening nature of statements previously made by the subject, and the possibility of the presence of at least one firearm, safety precautions were put in place prior to serving the warrant. The established security perimeter with police personnel and police equipment prevented any danger to the public. After law enforcement announced their presence ... Smith was taken into custody without incident.”

Smith is due back in court Sept. 18 to set a date for preliminary hearing.