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."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.