After Dallas Shootings, Police Arrest People for Criticizing Cops on Facebook and Twitter

The Intercept – by Naomi LaChance

FOUR MEN IN DETROIT were arrested over the past week for posts on social media that the police chief called threatening. One tweet that led to an arrest said that Micah Johnson, the man who shot police officers in Dallas last week, was a hero. None of the men have been named, nor have they been charged.

“I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” saidDetroit Police Chief James Craig. “I’ve directed my officers to prepare warrants for these four individuals, and we’ll see which venue is the best to pursue charges,”he said.  

Five police officers were killed in the Dallas shootings, constituting the highest number of police casualties in an attack since September 11. And as a result, law enforcement officials everywhere are suddenly much more sensitive to threats against their lives.

But one result has been that several police departments across the country have arrested individuals for posts on social media accounts, often from citizen tips — raising concerns among free speech advocates.

“Arresting people for speech is something we should be very careful about,” Bruce Schneier, security technologist at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, told The Intercept.

Last weekend in Connecticut, police arrested Kurt Vanzuuk after a tip for posts on Facebook that identified Johnson as a hero and called for police to be killed. Hewas charged with inciting injury to persons or property.

An Illinois woman, Jenesis Reynolds, was arrested for writing in a Facebook post that she would shoot an officer who would pull her over. “I have no problem shooting a cop for simple traffic stop cuz they’d have no problem doing it to me,”she wrote, according to the police investigation. She was charged with disorderly conduct.

In New Jersey, Rolando Medina was arrested and charged with cyber harassment. He allegedly posted on an unidentified form of social media that he would destroy local police headquarters. In Louisiana, Kemonte Gilmore was arrested for anonline video where he allegedly threatened a police officer. He was charged with public intimidation.

“Certainly, posting that kind of thing on social media is a bad thought,” professor Larry Dubin of the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law told the Detroit News. “But having a bad thought isn’t necessarily a crime.”

The policing of online threats is hardly a new issue. The Supreme Court set a precedent last year when it ruled that prosecutors pursuing a charge of communicating threats need to prove both that reasonable people would view the statement as a threat and that the intent was to threaten. Elonis v. United Statesdealt with a man who had posted violent rap lyrics about his estranged wife; the court reversed his conviction.

“After Dallas, threats may seem more threatening to police officers around the country,” said Daniel Medwed, professor of law at Northeastern University. “We might be seeing more arrests right now because the police will interpret that they have probable cause to make the arrest,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean in the end that this will result in convictions,” he added.

Schneier urged that law enforcement use caution.“This is complicated,” he said. “We don’t know how to do this — we’re doing it pretty badly and we should to it better.”

But he said it was a sign of the times. These days, almost all communications are recorded in some capacity. “This new world where things aren’t forgotten is going to be different,” Schneier said. “And you’re seeing one manifestation of it in casual comments that are resulting in arrest.”

https://theintercept.com/2016/07/12/after-dallas-shootings-police-arrest-people-for-criticizing-cops-on-facebook-and-twitter/

16 thoughts on “After Dallas Shootings, Police Arrest People for Criticizing Cops on Facebook and Twitter

  1. Lesson- if your going to do something, just do it, don’t tell the whole world.

    They obtained offensive comments about cops by way of citizen tips.

  2. Most of these arrests are nothing more than harassment done out of spite. If the pigs don’t like people hating them, this certainly isn’t going to help change that.

  3. I want to take this opportunity to bad mouth, harass, criticize, and disparage ALL law enforcement and the scumbag families of such ilk.

    I hope you all spin down into a hellish pit. With a few extra holes.in you neck.

  4. “You must bow at our feet. You must praise us. We be your saviors! God, are we ever so good.”

    F’N pigs, they live in “Piggyworld”. It’s where they’re Gods and we get the “golden shower.”

    So, I suppose we’ll all have a visit from the “Thought Police”. There can be no dissent, wrongful thinking will be dealt with at “Re-education Camps”.

  5. “I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” saidDetroit Police Chief James Craig. “I’ve directed my officers to prepare warrants for these four individuals, and we’ll see which venue is the best to pursue charges,”he said.

    No, YOU are the one who should be arrested for violating the Bill of Rights you treasonous piece of trash!

  6. “I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” said Detroit Police Chief James Craig.

    Here we have another police chief frustrated by the fact that Americans have a right to express their opinions. He “wants them charged with crimes”? What crimes?

    Ah.. I see… the first amendment of the Bill of Rights is now a crime, because pig-boy in chief can’t handle his criminal enterprise if it’s subject to public scrutiny.

    “We might be seeing more arrests right now because the police will interpret that they have probable cause to make the arrest,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean in the end that this will result in convictions,” he added.

    Have your lawyer ready. Even if you’re not convicted, you’ve still been arrested, and locked up for a period of time in obvious violation of the Bill of Rights. Sue the town, sue the police department, and make sure you sue the INDIVIDUAL COPS who made the arrest.

  7. Does anyone have a metal shop that is equipped to stamp out shinny badges so we can buy them and get special rights too?

  8. ““I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” saidDetroit Police Chief James Craig. “I’ve directed my officers to prepare warrants for these four individuals, and we’ll see which venue is the best to pursue charges,”he said.”

    Yea it’s a new issue alright. YOU’RE VIOLATING THE 1ST ARTICLE TO THE BILL OF RIGHTS, YOU TREASONOUS PIG!!! If anyone should be in jail, it should be YOU!

  9. Apparently, none of the people seized and arrested were prepared to follow through with anything they posted online as evidenced by the fact that they were arrested and no police were hurt in the process.
    Don’t talk the talk unless your prepared to walk the walk.

  10. new issue? to him, but threats against lives been going on for millennium (deduced from the historical record). Chief Craig needs to go home and change his soiled panties. granted the headline implies the police are a bunch of pansies, pussies, and wimps. However (camah) I don’t go for threats. Aren’t we threatened enough by the boys in blue and the rash of escalated traffic stops? who should be afraid of who? death threats are not the same as Calling the policey officers: pigs, dagoes, whops, greasers, spicks, spikes, skikes, pikes, tryks, sta-puff, howlies, etc.
    I know they don’t have an easy day or night on the J-O-B, and they treat us all as the enemy (title 50 United States Code section 1) because our own illustrious Big Brother has so labeled us. for the past several months haven’t the Police targeted us non-cops? and when the cops are targeted, it is wrong? but they were targeted because they targeted us first. am I correct on that? the big ball of shit is rolling and getting bigger. Before people get to killing each other…De-escalate! Cease fire Cease fire.
    easier said than done.

  11. “new issue? to him, but threats against lives been going on for millennium (deduced from the historical record). Chief Craig needs to go home and change his soiled panties.”

    BINGO! Police have been threatened since it’s inception. It’s no different than a fireman being threatened with fire.

    If you can’t handle the pressure of the job, THEN QUIT!

  12. “I know this is a new issue, but I want these people charged with crimes,” saidDetroit Police Chief James Craig.”

    What you WANT, PIG, is in DIRECT VIOLATION of the 1st amendment.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    What you’ll GET, is HUNG for your TREASON, scumbag jewb#tch!!!

  13. So let me get this, criminal acts by badge wearing Shit bags was the justification for shoot of some random Shit bags and this Shit bag thinks that more criminal acts by his Shit bags in Detroit will not solicite a larger retaliation? This Shit bag is retarded.

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