Man accused of threatening several public figures wants to defend himself

EPD: Man in jail after authorities say he made threats to several public figures

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville man accused of making threats against the lives of several public figures in a Facebook Live video was in court Thursday.

Ebon Ellis, 25, is said to be one of the main organizers in last month’s peaceful protests.

According to police, Ellis made a video threatening the lives of Officer Phillip Smith, Chief Billy Bolin and Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.

Authorities state in Ellis’s video, he asked others to carry out the acts of violence against these public officials. We are told in a separate video he made threats to City Council President Alex Burton.

“The gestures were made were there was not a weapon displayed, but the gesture was like he had a weapon, making the noise of a weapon being fired, that sort of thing,” said Sgt. Nick Winsett. “A lot of times, what people say on social media is very inflammatory. Once you get to the point where people’s lives are in danger, that’s when it becomes a major issue.”

The news release states based on what Ellis said and gestures he made during his video, the detective’s office immediately contacted the prosecutor’s office and a warrant was signed by a judge for his arrest.

According to authorities, Ellis was found in the downtown area near Evansville Viper Unit where police took him in. They say he continued to make threats to those public officials.

Ellis is charged with four counts of felony intimidation.

During Thursday’s hearing, Ellis interrupted the judge and demanded that he represent himself. 

The judge advised against it and put the public attorneys office on standby for him. 

A not guilty plea was filed.

His next court appearance is set for August 20.

Ellis’ bond remains at $100,000 or $10,000 cash. He’s been ordered to have no contact with Chief Bolin, Officer Smith, or Mayor Winnecke. 

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