Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Teen Arrested For Posting 'Threatening' Rap Lyrics On Facebook

from the 'terrorist'-gambit-fails;-adds-+20-to-Cammy-Dee's-street-cred dept

Cameron D’Ambrosio, the teen charged with “communicating terrorist threats” via some daft rap lyrics posted to his Facebook profile, is apparently no longer a threat to the people of Methuen, MA, and parts beyond. Facing a possible 20-year-sentence for his inclusion of such explosive terms as “White House,” “murder charge” and “Boston bombinb” in his one-man online rap battle, D’Ambrosio has been held without bail since May 2nd. As of Thursday night, however, D’Ambrosio is free to kill terrorize rhyme again. And, as an added bonus, he now has something in common with many of the rappers he clearly aspires to be: time served.

An Essex County grand jury declined Thursday to bring an indictment against Cameron D’Ambrosio, 18, so prosecutors will formally file a motion to drop the charge of making a bomb or hijack threat, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.

The D.A.’s office has declined to comment on the grand jury’s decision, and D’Ambrosio and his lawyer are probably saving some choice words for a press conference. But that hasn’t stopped the man behind this overreaction and the ensuing farcical approximation of criminal “justice.” Here’s what Police Chief Joe Solomon had to say in his press release (delivered via Facebook).

“I have just been advised of the Grand Jury decision from earlier today, where the grand jury did not issue an indictment on the high school threats case. Although we disagree with the Grand Jury’s decision we respect it. Several judiciary levels have confirmed the probable cause in this case as it has worked it’s way through the criminal justice system. We will continue to take all threats against our community seriously and will always utilize due diligence in our investigation.”

Thank you
Chief Solomon

A few things to note:

1. Suddenly it’s only a “high school threats case,” rather than the much more dangerous-sounding “communicating terroristic threats.”

2. Shouldn’t the “probable cause” have been determined before D’Ambrosio was even arrested?

3. No one has a problem with the police taking threats “seriously.” The issue here is that the police couldn’t figure out when to stop treating D’Ambrosio’s words as a threat. Apparently, the grand jury wasn’t quite as willing as the rest of the judicial system to stretch the wording of a law pertaining to making specific threats to fit D’Ambrosio’s untargeted word dump.

Matthew Segal, the legal director at the ACLU of Massachusetts – who has worked on similar first amendment cases, though not this one – says it does not appear that D’Ambrosio’s Facebook post rose to the level of a “true threat” warranting an investigation, which the grand jury has found as well. Segal notes that D’Ambrosio’s words didn’t target anybody or anything specifically, which the Methuen police have also acknowledged.

D’Ambrosio still has one more date hanging over his head — June 27th — during which prosecutors may decide to bring other charges. This seems unlikely considering the District Attorney’s office has already announced it will not be pursuing this case further. Just in case, supporters of D’Ambrosio, led by the Center for Rights (whose Free Cameron petition gathered over 90,000 votes), will be on hand to show their support for Cameron — and the First Amendment.

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Comments on “Grand Jury Refuses To Indict Teen Arrested For Posting 'Threatening' Rap Lyrics On Facebook”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Gonna get a ham sandwich
onna beach it gets filled with sand which
makes me wanna throw it in a deep ditch…

Somehow, the beat in that made me think of something from awhile back?

Maggie comes fleet foot
Face full of black soot
Talkin? that the heat put
Plants in the bed but
The phone?s tapped anyway
Maggie says that many say
They must bust in early May
Orders from the D.A.
Look out kid
Don?t matter what you did

You think that goes along to the same tune there?

out_of_the_blue says:

Good to see juries pushing back against the attack dogs,

especially those with law degrees and suits who are supposed to in turn keep the police on short leash.

One immediate way to improve the system is for everyone charged to demand a jury trial. — And it IS a demand, though judges will try to talk you out of it. — Not least in traffic court by stating that you won’t get a trial there, true, but if you don’t demand it (and better file it in writing) even so, you’re assumed to have voluntarily given up the right in the real trial de novo after you’re rubber-stamped guilty in traffic court. I tell ya, the guild of lawyers are the nastiest tyrants around, know exactly what damage they do to justice. — Anyway, that’d clog the system and force prosecutors to drop these outrages against common law and common sense.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Probable Cause

“2. Shouldn’t the “probable cause” have been determined before D’Ambrosio was even arrested?”

Is something missing? He did not say they did not have probable cause, he said:

“Several judiciary levels have confirmed the probable cause in this case as it has worked it’s way through the criminal justice system.”

He said their probable cause was verified.

Now THAT’S a problem.

Mjr_Dzaster (profile) says:

Re: Probable Cause

Yes, but if this police chief is going to make such a statement, then he should SHOW the so-called “probable cause” from the so-called “judicial levels” he speaks of rather than just spewing meaningless psudo-techno-police/law-drivel to make it sound like what he is stating is a legitimate comment, when in reality, he’s just trying to cover his @$$.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Probable Cause

“SHOW the so-called “probable cause” “

The way I see this as having happened is that:

1. The cops took their ‘probable cause’ to a judge, or maybe did some judicious judge shopping (does that qualify as a double entendre?) and got their warrant.
2. With the warrant, they investigated and maybe arrested.
3. Then took all that evidence to the Grand Jury.
4. The Grand Jury could only stop laughing long enough to stamp the paperwork, no true bill.
5. The police will take the position of all intelligence organizations and claim they do not want to give up means and methods (AKA they are too embarrassed to release what actually happened).

Sorry to seem so pessimistic, but events appear to be heading the wrong way down a bad path.

Votre (profile) says:

Yet another bit of police department “wilding” gets called out for what it is.

And once again an opportunistic lawman, who sees everything in black & white, gets his face rubbed in it and adopts a “not angry but terrible disappointed” stance in a pitifully transparent attempt to save face.

Nice to see the citizens of Massachusetts called “bullshit” on this “case.” And better yet, this time they did it through a grand jury. Which is ironic in that the entire grand jury system is heavily stacked in favor of law enforcement and their arguments.

It’s Alice’s Restaurant all over again. Love it!

Anonymous Coward says:

considering what the government has just been found out doing in regard to checking through all the communications of the people in the USA and beyond and how important that is going to be, it sort of dwarfs out this ridiculous exploit. if law enforcement haven’t anything better to do, i would have thought that, rather than go after kids for doing something like this, something that means nothing, they would have been better employed, counting how lucky they are. if they want practice, i’m sure there must be the opportunity to go to different grounds where that is accomodated

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

What happened to this kid illustrates the danger of collecting and analyzing everybody’s communications. Their will be plenty of similar cases to come if everybody’s actual communications are monitored. Total surveillance picks up those that are intemperate with their speech, rather than those actually planning harm to other people.

horse with no name says:


1. the grand jury is free to consider all options in the case, and if they landed at it not rising to the level of X, they may have considered the lesser charge. Apparently it didn’t make it up to that level.

2. probably cause existed, the statement was only that it had been confirmed along the way. They agreed with the conclusion before arrest that there was probably cause.

3. The case is borderline, but it is serious enough to merit consideration. I cannot for the life of me understand why people like you complain when the system works. Not all cases are perfect, not every potentially criminal act serious enough to merit a day in court. Why would you have a problem with that?

The first amendment doesn’t protect illegal speech, and the question asked here by authorities was very, very valid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: really?

I’m finding it hard to take you seriously when you don’t even know what “probable” cause is.

For what it’s worth, the old troll TAM always mixed it up as well, calling it “probably cause.” I think this comment confirms that “horse with no name” likely = TAM. And, TAM = Weird Harold and a variety of other “anonymous” trolls on this site for years.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: really?

In your view what is “illegal speech”?

Did you ask people on the streets what they think “illegal speech” is?

You be surprised with how much speech is “illegal” or should be “illegal”.

And yes the first amendment was specifically put in place to protect “illegal speech” like the seditious talk of the forefathers.

We from time to time make some exceptions to that rule, for a variety of reasons but all fucking speech is protected by the first amendment.

AnonymousHorse says:

Re: really?

Stop horsing around and get to some point already.

In the US all speech is protected including hate speech, pedo speech and a lot of others, from time to time some people believe they can make exceptions from some forms of speech, but they be wrong.

Is not for any government to decide what is legal or illegal speech, if we go down that hole eventually your own speech will generate some kind of adverse effect that will justify being made illegal and you being punished for it.

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