Teen Tweets Stupid 'Threat,' Surprisingly Manages To Avoid Terrorism Charges

from the a-rational-response-for-once dept

Another teenager has taken to social media and made an ass of himself by unleashing a severely stupid statement. “Mark” (Twitter handle: @Mark12394995) responded to the George Zimmerman verdict with this moronic tweet.

If Zimmmerman free imma shoot everybody in Zion causing a mass homicide, and ill get away wit it just like Zimmerman

It should be noted the Zion Mark refers to is his hometown. Mark swiftly deleted the tweet once the backlash started, but by then it was too late. While Mark received tweets from angry Tweeters, the local PD’s phone was ringing off the hook.

Dispatch started receiving calls, including one from Kansas, the FBI, and Fox News who told Zion they heard it from a caller in Washington.

Mark was hauled off to the police station and questioned by Zion police. Considering recent events, one could be forgiven for assuming Mark is still in jail, facing terrorism charges and unaffordable bail. Oddly enough, the Zion police did a little investigating and realized Mark posed a threat to absolutely no one.

“There is no credibility to the threat. He has no weapons and no access to weapons,” he said.

The police took Mark’s “threat” seriously, which isn’t a problem. Law enforcement should investigate incidents like these to determine whether there’s any seriousness to the threat. But unlike other police departments and prosecutors, no one attempted to pursue excessive criminal charges despite being unable to find anything that indicated the statement should be taken seriously.

The Zion Police still charged Mark with a crime, however — disorderly conduct, a Class 4 felony. This seems excessive considering the police didn’t find Mark’s threat credible. Most likely this charge was issued as a result of the switchboard lighting up as “concerned” Tweeters nationwide reported the tweet. If you’ve got the perp down at the station and the FBI is on the phone, you can’t very well let him walk away with nothing more than a “turn on brain before tweeting” warning.

Still, things could have been much, much worse. It’s been noted that you can’t “fix stupid.” However, what we’ve seen lately indicates you can arraign it on terrorism charges.

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Comments on “Teen Tweets Stupid 'Threat,' Surprisingly Manages To Avoid Terrorism Charges”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I have a feeling the reason this kid was let go, is due to the fact that local officials are already afraid of ‘more’ massive protests than they’re already dealing with.

That’s all they need is more media coverage about a Trayvon Martin supporter being hauled to jail, facing terrorist charges.

If it wasn’t for the already tense political climate surrounding the ruling, this young man would most likely be in jail with a stupendously high bond, facing terrorist charges.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I looked up Illinois the Illinois law on disorderly conduct, and some things in that law are felonies and some are not. Of the felonies, it seems like these are the closest to applying:

(3.5) Transmits or causes to be transmitted a threat of destruction of a school building or school property, or a threat of violence, death, or bodily harm directed against persons at a school, school function, or school event, whether or not school is in session;
(4) Transmits or causes to be transmitted in any manner to any peace officer, public officer or public employee a report to the effect that an offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed, knowing at the time of the transmission that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed;


Are they working under the theory that shooting “everybody in Zion” would necessarily involve the people at the school, or are they working under the theory that he “caused to be transmitted” reports that he was threatening to shoot everyone?

Either way, it’s too much of a stretch.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

And in case you were wondering, the part that says “Does any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace” (which is what you’d normally think “disorderly conduct” is) is a class C misdemeanor. Charging him with THAT might be more reasonable. It could result in up to 30 days in jail and a maximum fine of $1,500, compared with 1-3 years in jail for the felony.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Seems like item 4 of that Illinois law covers this situation. He tweeted (transmitted) a message about an illegal activity that caused others to report it to the police (peace officer) while knowing at the time of transmission that there was no reasonable ground to believe the offense would be committed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m not buying it. He obviously did not intend that the police would be called (one of his later tweets was “well i didnt know ppl would report me”).

Also, charging him under this law would, ironically, force the police to PROVE “that there is no reasonable ground for believing that the offense will be committed, is being committed, or has been committed”.

This law is obviously meant to prevent people from calling the police with false information. Under your theory, telling anybody anything is the same as telling it to the police, because they MIGHT tell the police. Say a girl has sex with another guy, and falsely tells her boyfriend it was rape because she doesn’t want to admit she was cheating. If the boyfriend then tells the police, that’s a felony for the girl, just the same as if she had walked into the police station and told an officer?

The subsection is not meant for this situation. What’s wrong with charging him with the misdemeanor?

Wally (profile) says:

I think the Zion PD did admirably. They not only responded to what people may have taken for a serious threat, but the police let him go after he explained himself and they found him not a threat. I mean it’s very rare to see the police doing their job in protecting and serving the public interests while actually not over killing a situation.

Mike Brown (profile) says:

Isn't Social Media Awesome?

This kid is an idiot, but I blame everyone who called the police for the brouhaha.

Dear NSA: Here’s a tip for you that should save you a ton of money and labor. You don’t need to scoop up tons of data on all of us because apparently there are millions of armchair terrorism experts on Twitter who seem perfectly happy to do the work for you. I would assume the “threats” they are uncovering are just as likely as the ones you’re uncovering in your massive dragnet.

Anonymous Coward says:

Double standards for the masses.

There is a nutcase named Jim Yeager on YouTube going off on the proposed gun laws. He threaten to shoot several folks if it passed. His only punishment was he had his concealed carry permit stripped which was later reinstated. He wasn’t even arrested, other than the platform the only difference in these two cases is Yeager is a former police officer.

Ninja (profile) says:

I think virtually any teenager did something stupid that could be classified as some sort of crime in the US now. I mean I used my school material to make holes in a dry wall in my early years. That would be what? Damaging private property or something? At the time I got a wrist slap and had to close the hole myself and that was it. Maybe today I’d be jailed facing up to 50 years eh?

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