In Washington, another police officer was fired this summer for joking about shooting first lady Michelle Obama. "There's no room for jokes or frivolity when you're dealing with the first family," DC Mayor Vincent Gray said at the time.
In Koivisto’s case, he admitted to telling colleagues after the election that, “If an order was given to kill Obama or something, then I wouldn’t mind being the guy.” He also told investigators that he would not be concerned if a nuclear bomb hit the Northeast and “killed them all,” since he perceived most of them as Obama supporters.
“That’s not saying I’m going to do it or would do it, and that’s never going to happen,” he told colleagues, who nevertheless were concerned enough to report the statements.
The election of Obama as America’s first black president raised particular concerns about the possibility of assassination attempts. Since 2007, the Secret Service has disrupted several assassination conspiracies – including some involving white nationalists – and arrested dozens of people who have made less-than-idle threats against the president.
While the Secret Service saw a spike in death threats in 2008 and again in 2012, the total number of daily threats against Obama is for the most part similar to those against his predecessor, George W. Bush, and has occasionally dipped significantly lower, according to reports from the Secret Service.