Testing Police Response Lands Phoenix Man In Jail
This Arizona man says he is no terrorist.
A jury convicted Michael Turley of carrying out a terrorist hoax after he filmed his teenaged nephew walking around with a fake grenade launcher.
Turley told INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret, "I'm the furthest thing from a terrorist."
Turley posted the video on YouTube following the horrific movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado. He said he was trying to test the response time of local police in Phoenix, Arizona. He also filmed himself in silhouette.
In the video, Turley says, "A few days ago, a lone gunman walked into the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Given this event, I want to run a little test here in Phoenix, Arizona."
The video was shot at an intersection where Michael Turley videotaped his 16-year-old nephew dressed in a sheet and carrying a fake missile launcher, but it was real enough for police to receive more than half-a-dozen 911 calls.
One 911 caller reported: "There's a man dressed in Taliban-like Arabian clothes holding an RPG, pointing it at vehicles as they drive by."
Another 911 caller reported: "There's somebody wearing a bluish green gown and it appears he's holding a rocket launcher and he's pointing it at vehicles."
Phoenix police officer James Holmes says the stunt could have cost Turley's nephew his life.
Officer Holmes said, "It still amazes me today to realize that no one, when he turned and pointed that fake grenade launcher at one of those vehicles, that they didn't just take it upon themselves, feeling threatened to just run him over."
Moret said to Turley, "You have to admit that in this photo the RPG looks real."
"Well, I mean, from a distance it would look similar to a real RPG, but from here it doesn't to me. I mean, it's ducked tape and has zip ties," said Turley.
Turley, a 40-year-old filmmaker, says when police responded, even they didn't seem overly concerned. He believes he was arrested two months later only after his video went viral.
"I made fun of the Phoenix Police Department. And in Phoeniz, Arizona, apparently that's something you don't do," he said.
Turley says the video he made was a work of fiction. Even the clock showing a 15 minute police response time was faked for drama. It actually took less than four minutes.
"If I'm guilty of one thing, it's being an excellent story teller," Turley insists.
"What were you thinking?" asked Moret.
Turley stated, "This is no more reckless than you taking your child out on Halloween night."
But police say this filmmaker did something very foolish and needs to face the consequences.
The judge said to Turley in court, "You admitted this was a stupid thing to do."
He could have faced five years in prison, but the judge gave him a break. Two weeks in jail, and two years probation.
"Was it an act of terrorism at the very moment based on the phone calls and folks reaction? Of course it was," said Officer Holmes.