Police

Brooklyn Teen Arrested for Threatening Use of Emoji

NYPD: "You make a threat on the internet, we're going to be watching."

|

iemoji.com

As folks in France and the U.K. face criminal charges for posting subjectively "hateful" content to Twitter, another disturbing case of social-media censorship hits a little closer to home. A Brooklyn teenager has been charged for posting "threatening" emoji images to Facebook. 

The boy, 17-year-old Osiris Aristy, posted a January 15 status update that said "Nigga run up on me, he gunna get blown down," followed by a police officer emoji and three guns. Police officers interpreted this as a credible threat. 

Cops were dispatched to Aristy's house, which they searched, finding marijuana and a firearm. In addition to charges for making "terroristic threats" and "aggravated harassment," Aristy was also charged with drug and weapon possession. He was arraigned last week, with bail set at $150,000. 

With perhaps the exception of Aristy's "threat," everything about this story is alarming. Are New York City police just randomly monitoring Facebook, looking for reasons to arrest people? Or did they already have their eye on Aristy—who frequently posts to Facebook about drugs—and simply use his status update as an excuse to raid his house? Either way, it doesn't look good. Nor does the NYPD's attempt to circumvent the First Amendment by distorting the meanings of "true threat" and "harassment."

Had Aristy mentioned any particular officer(s), written directly to them, or stated some sort of plan to carry out the violence, this might be a different story. But his post wasn't about or directed at anyone. It didn't mention any specifics. There's absolutely no way that rises to the level of criminal harassment. And "it's a little hard to believe he has a subjective intent to kill someone when he puts these emojis together," as lawyer Leon Friedman said to CBS New York

The U.S. Supreme Court is currently considering the limits of free speech on Facebook. That case is a little more difficult, involving detailed, graphic accounts of intended violence against a particular individual. Aristy's post wasn't even a blanket wish to harm police officers, only ones that "run up on" him. In the wake of so much recent, high-profile police violence, it could be interpreted as an assertion that Aristy would use self-defense if he felt threatened on the street by police.

But there seems to be growing American enthusiasm for the idea that all but the blandest of speech should be criminalized. The fairly nauseating CBS account of Aristy's case opens with the assertion that "you can't just post anything you want on Facebook" and ends with Aristy's neighbor agreeing that "at the end of the day, you've got to watch what you say." Surveillance-state resignation for the win!

The criminal complaint against Aristy stated, in part, that "the defendant has caused … New York City police officers to fear for their safety, for public safety, and to suffer alarm and annoyance." Alarm and annoyance! Can't have that! Inspector Maximo Tolentino told DNAinfo: "You make a threat on the internet, we're going to be watching. We are going to attempt to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law." 

Advertisement

NEXT: Texas Cops Assaulted Disabled Veteran, Never Told Him He Was Under Arrest, Lawsuit Claims

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Pigs.

    Fucking scared little pigs.

    1. They do appear to be wetting their smallclothes with greater regularity.

      1. Hey man, they just want to get home to their families.

        OFFICER SAFETY

        1. Then they can stay home with their families and stop drawing a government paycheck.

  2. Can’t they just say, “I feared for my safety”, and then do a DDOS attack or something? But I guess that wouldn’t give them the chance to shoot someone or their dog. Less fulfilling, I suppose.

  3. With perhaps the exception of Aristy’s “threat,” everything about this story is alarming. Are New York City police just randomly monitoring Facebook, looking for reasons to arrest people? Or did they already have their eye on Aristy?who frequently posts to Facebook about drugs?and simply use his status update as an excuse to raid his house?

    My guess is that some busybody saw it and was worried about occifer safety, so they did their duty and reported it. The police saw it as an excuse to use their toys and maybe kill someone or their dog, so they decided to have themselves some fun.

  4. A judge actually issued a search warrant for this shit?

    OT:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..-are-paid/

    Obama is actually doing something to rein in Medicare waste. He is 100x better than BushRomney.

    1. This comment may be peak PB. I know, I know, there’s no peak derp. But this may be it.

      1. So you are a fan of Medicare waste.

        1. You did write that President Obama was “100x better than BushRomney.”

          1. Spending exploded under Bush and has been fairly flat under Obama at $3.5ish trillion.

            Romney campaigned on restoring the Medicare and defense cuts Obama signed.

            Those are facts. Of course the GOP signed off on the sequester part.

            1. I scanned the article for which you provided a link, and will look into the goals/hopes this administration has talked about.

              You may already know that I dislike President Obama approximately as much as I dislike President Bush. Unlike you, I cannot quantify which one is significantly worse.

              1. Well, the Iraq War was the biggest waste of money and lives of my adult life by far. If they needed a tiebreaker (which they don’t) then that would make it a landslide.

                And don’t say “But Libya!” like others here do. There is close to $2 trillion difference.

                1. I am confident that we will waste our time debating here, so let’s just disagree.

                  If I resort to calling you names I’m most likely being sarcastic.

                  1. I don’t think you need to explain yourself for using sarcastic names against somebody who styles himself “Palin’s Buttplug”.

                    1. Stop calling it a him.

                      It’s not human; it’s not sentient; pretending it is human just encourages its shambolic neural net to plant more incoherent comments here.

                2. How about But Iraq – as in the country we were supposed to exit in 2009 as candidate Obama promised? The country where he reduced troop levels only when the Iraqis insisted he leave, and the country he is trying to send troops back under the guise of fighting ISIS.

                  How about But Afghanistan – as in the country where Obama has lost more men than Booosh?

                3. How is the Iraq war, which Bush started and Obama not only continued, but doubled-down on, a *tie-breaker*?

                  Or did you forget that Obama, as C-in-C has *unilateral* authority to end a conflict that his predecessor had ot ask permission for to start?

            2. Of course when your baseline includes a one time stimulus package at the end of the BOOOSH presidency…

    2. “Rather than pay more money to Medicare doctors simply for every procedure they perform, the government will also evaluate whether patients are healthier, among other measures. The goal is for half of all Medicare payments to be handled this way by 2018.”

      This is actually ridiculously stupid. A large portion of whether a patient is ‘healthier’ is on the patient. If you’re 300 pounds and unhealthy, that is not the work of your doctor.

      As a result, a doctor could very easily have his wages cut because his fatass patients are in bad health through no fault of his own or he could have his wages go up because he only treats marathon runners.

      Not only that, but how someone reacts to a medical procedure is not an exact science. Therefore, doctors can do everything right and nonetheless not get paid for their work because of circumstances out of their control.

      1. Fuck em. It is time to cut spending.

        My (Medicare) parents social lives revolve around doc visits. They go just for the hell of it and to talk to people. This is common.

        1. You make a compelling case for forced sterilization

          1. What you just did was seen by me.

          2. You make a compelling case for forced sterilization

            Well, it also makes an excellent case for getting the government out of the medical field altogether, but I didn’t see it offering that up as a solution for the, “It is time to cut spending” goal it lauded.

        2. PB…the alternative is for them to stay home and talk to you. I’m sympathetic to them.

          You do realize that socialized medicine encourages that sort of behavior, don’t you?

    3. Obama is actually doing something to rein in Medicare waste.

      Suderman already covered why this will do nothing of the sort.

    4. Obama is actually doing something to rein in Medicare waste.

      He issued a press release announcing his intentions to make a plan to make a plan!

      All Hail Obama!

      1. Which he later blame on obstructionist repubs keeping him from doing (for the past six years).

    5. Obama Barack W. Bush is actually doing something to rein in Medicare waste. He is 100x better than BushRomney.

      FTFY

  5. the defendant has caused … New York City police officers to fear for their safety, for public safety, and to suffer alarm and annoyance

    I guess the kid is lucky the cops didn’t just storm his house in the middle of the night and murder him.

    You make a threat on the internet, we’re going to be watching. We are going to attempt to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

    The implications of this are rather terrifying.

    1. the extent of the law seems to be never ending

      1. I’ve missed a lot of news of late. Are members of the NYPD enforcing “lesser” laws again?

        1. Yes. The NY Post creamed themselves over it the other day.

          1. Thanks Rhywun – I was too lazy earlier and too busy just now to look it up.

    2. Especially the use of ‘annoyance’.

      You annoy them they will persecute you to the fullest extent of the law.

      Cities are the least free level of government. They actually make the Feds look libertarianish.

  6. Remember, most cops are bullies and most bullies are cowards.

    With luck, a tough judge will through this out on an insufficient warrant.

    1. I found no mention of a warrant in the story. Maybe they had one. Do they still need them in NYC?

      1. “The arrest warrant was obtained after ‘routine Facebook monitoring’ found that Aristy had posted selfies with guns, selfies with marijuana joints and emojis ‘threatening to kill cops’, DNA Info reported.”
        http://libertycrier.com/teen-a…..SSxTkGT.99

        1. Really not the best way to carry on in NYC.

          1. Are you referring to the “routine Facebook monitoring” being done by the NYPD or some agency on its behalf?

            1. I’m referring to doing anything in NYC involving a gun including posting a picture. Reason #1 I avoid that shithole despite living nearby.

              1. I see.
                I’ve only been through/in New York City twice.
                I have no intention of going there again. There are a few other cities I hold in a similar regard.

  7. Advocating for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government should be protected speech. Using violence to overthrow the U.S. government isn’t protected by the First Amendment, but maintaining a violent threat against the military and police is the intention of the Second Amendment.

    I wonder, can you get arrested for quoting the Second Amendment or the Federalist Papers on social media?

    Advocating that the victims of police brutality should violently resist is just speech. Promising to violently resist police brutality is also just speech, and it should be protected by the first Amendment. Certainly, the Second Amendment carries an implicit threat against police who violate people’s rights.

    You yell out
    in defiance.
    You’re backed up against the wall.
    They’re up there clutchin’ their guns, man
    Makes you feel real small so
    cus
    spit
    throw a bottle.
    Broken glass.
    But it ends with handcuffs on your hands.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdmN82gdz4s

    Songs about resisting the police aren’t a threat. Stating your intent to defend yourself against police brutality and aggression isn’t a violent threat either.

    But the Second Amendment is a violent threat. That’s what it’s supposed to be. And this guy didn’t say anything that isn’t either protected by the First Amendment or implicit within the Second Amendment.

    1. World up my ass…

    2. Ken:

      “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

      A man who was armed with a pistol carried this message (on a flag or sign) where President Obama intended to visit.

      That man was not arrested. What, if anything, has shifted?

      1. Obama’s actual visit?

        1. I found it, Rich: “Gun-Toting Man Draws Scrutiny Outside Obama Town Hall”

          http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gu…..town-hall/

          1. It’s reasonable to not understand the intricacies of gun laws; many vary from state to state, and few are written especially clearly.

            Then HTF can a LEO or a judge reasonably enforce such laws?

            1. They enforce it by FYTW.

            2. “Then HTF can a LEO or a judge reasonably enforce such laws?”

              They should be very familiar with the laws in which they have responsibilities. It is very unfortunate that the Supreme Court has fairly recently ruled that law enforcement officers can make arrests even if their original reason for investigating an individual is illegal/invalid.

    3. Advocating for the violent overthrow of the U.S. government should be protected speech

      Per Brandenburg, it is.

  8. His Facebook page seems to be written in an invented language – are they sure of their translation?

  9. Aristy’s post wasn’t even a blanket wish to harm police officers, only ones that “run up on” him.

    BZZT!

    FTFA:“Nigga run up on me, he gunna get blown down,” followed by a police officer emoji and three guns.

    Aristy’s post was about “nigga”. Who’s to say he didn’t mean he wished the police and their guns would do the “blowing down” of some homey threatening him?

    If TPTB decide to, um, interpret certain H&R comments, this site gunna get sumpin. 8-(

    1. *checks passport is still valid, searches Home Office job openings*

      1. Sir, you know *we* know you smiled as you posted that ….

    2. That was my interpretation of the comment. Then again, his emoji rebuses are well-nigh inscrutable.

    3. That’s how I read it, too.

      Perhaps a commentary on the propensity of cops to grease niggas they don’t like the looks of?

      If that’s really the cop emoji he used, well, it don’t look like no nigga cop to me, so I see zero connection between the likely fate of up-running niggas and any threat to cops.

      1. I read “niqqa”. Guess that translates to “nigga”?

  10. What the fuck is an emoji?

    1. e?mo?ji
      ??m?j?/
      noun
      a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.
      “emoji liven up your text messages with tiny smiley faces”

      SMILEY HAPPY ELECTRONIC SUPER FUN!!!!!!

    2. A 21st century smiley-type ideogram. Stuff like “;-)” is too fucking primitive noiw.

    3. What I want to know is, when did people change from calling them emoticons?

      1. Emoticons are the ones that look like this 🙂

        1. I see. TIL.

    4. The picture menu of the internet.

      1. Ever notice how “Picture menu available” is never shown in pictorial form?

        1. It’s a microaggression!

  11. In other cop news: Stormtroopers got to Storm!

    “Fairfax SWAT team raids high stakes Great Falls poker game, seizes cash, terrifies players”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/…..s-players/

    1. “But the host [of the poker game] has not been charged and the search warrant used to raid the house remains sealed and declined to comment.”

      Right….

      1. And they’re only going to take/confiscate 40%.

        And they needed the SWATees since there is a danger of “asian gangs” in northern virginia.

        1. Well, the spokesperson said that sometimes they’ve encountered large amounts of money making the gambling (extra?) illegal, and they’ve even encountered “illegal guns” too.

          1. I forgot to mention this, Phocas, but there was no mention of Asians nor any mention of Asian spokes-models hiding cars behind their bodies.

            Hope that helps.

            -C

      2. How could a search warrant comment?

        1. It can’t – it’s (lips are) sealed.

          }

    2. the police agreed to return 60 percent of the money, and keep 40 percent

      Awww, how nice of them…

    3. The regular player said the police told him, “The reason we’re here is there are Asian gangs targeting these games,” and it’s certainly true that some private gambling events in Fairfax County have been robbed by nefarious elements. The player said he wanted to respond, “So you robbed us first,” but he did not

      Shoulda, coulda, woulda, buddy

      1. If he said that, the pigs would have assassinated him.

    4. As an enraging bonus: The officer who murdered Sal Culosi was in on that bust, apparently.

  12. Are New York City police just randomly monitoring Facebook, looking for reasons to arrest people?

    Yes.

    BOOYAH

    hth

  13. “terroristic threats”

    Holy shit is that terrorific!

  14. Inspector Maximo Tolentino told DNAinfo: “You make a threat on the internet, we’re going to be watching. We are going to attempt to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Hey, Inspector Maximo Tolentino, here’s a threat for you: ” The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure.” It isn’t mine, but it comes from a trouble-maker I know down in Charlottesville. If you hurry, you just might catch him there before he slips away to his retreat in Bedford County.

    1. “You make a threat on the internet, we’re going to be watching.”

      Is that a *promise*, or a … you know?

  15. You make a threat on the internet, we’re going to be watching. We are going to attempt to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.

    Once again, this is just flat out thuggery. They aren’t even concerned any more about directly threatening people for not respecting their authoritah. There is no longer any mask, any pretense.

    I think these pants-wetting, whole-magazine-emptying cowards are actually getting scared. They’ve swallowed their own gang propaganda so completely that they really do think non-cops are the enemy and out to get them, and the fact that a lunatic gunned down a few of them just recently pushed them to DEFCON 1, or close to it. Get ready for some panic fire shootings of innocent people in the near future.

  16. I think its amazing how the police are able to sift through the mountains of “dumbass statements made by punk kids” on the internet and find the isolated examples which may in fact prove to have criminal intent.

    because by their standards, I think there are some Youtube threads out there that probably would justify World War III. At the very least some drone strikes on a few people’s homes.

    How is it they can prosecute people for ‘typing things’ that a quick search of some websites would find hundreds of similar idiotic statements by other idiotic kids? if its a ‘crime’, are they all criminals? or are they just selectively prosecuting Bad Thoughts?

    If their protocol (and I can only presume that NYPD represents the vanguard of future Federal Thought Police) is that ‘Facebook comments’ constitute a more-serious statement of intent, well then I can be glad I haven’t ever, ever gotten into discussions on Facebook about *anything*.

    But who was it – black blood? – not so long ago who suggested that Cop Murder was somehow ‘philosophically justifiable’? I suppose we should be glad the Reason doesn’t use ’emojis’? (*though i confess = the STEVE SMITH yeti-rapist emoji would be pretty dope)

    1. black blood is a provocateur, and not in the sexy way I am. He’s tried to bait us into agreeing with cop-killing and racist drivel and is guilty of general trollery.

      I wonder if this guy wasn’t reported by a Facebook “friend” in a effort to SWAT him, because if not, the NYPD sure is trawling a lot of social media.

      1. Well that’s the thing, isn’t it. There’s no way they just happened to see this and decided to go after the kid. Someone, somewhere, had an axe to grind, whether it was a “friend” who reported him or a cop who knows him and doesn’t like him or whatever. Which is just as creepy, but in a different way than if they just randomly picked on him.

        1. ” There’s no way they just happened to see this and decided to go after the kid”

          That seems to be the trick of it.

          its not just that all kinds of people just say all kinds of dumb shit on the internet and the police somehow manage to filter it all and then pick the ‘worst’ to go after.

          its that other people decide to use the state as their personal bludgeon, pick some isolated statement some guy makes, then notify the authorities with their ‘concerns’

          In most of these cases, the cops will claim that they don’t “Go looking” for this stuff – its that someone pointed them to it.

          1. The internet has truly expanded the passive aggressive options of the world’s candy-ass pussy losers to “get back” at people they don’t like. SWAT someone! Report them for Facebook posts! Become an SJW and hound them on Twitter and try and get them fired! With the internet, actually having to face a person you want to screw over is a thing of the past!

  17. The boy, 17-year-old Osiris Aristy, posted a January 15 status update that said “Nigga run up on me, he gunna get blown down,” followed by a police officer emoji and three guns. Police officers interpreted this as a credible threat.

    I think the use of the image of a policeman here simply indicates that Aristy was explaining the thought processes of Officer Darren Wilson.

    1. This makes much more sense than the police interpretation as a threat TO the police.
      But sense is not in high availability in police work these days.
      *Ducks to make sure nobody’s watching*

  18. “The boy, 17-year-old Osiris Aristy, posted a January 15 status update that said “Nigga run up on me, he gunna get blown down,” followed by a police officer emoji and three guns. Police officers interpreted this as a credible threat.”

    Arrested? That’s wrong. But the little thug-wannabe needs a good bitch-slapping. Tangental: Someone should make a film set in the 25th century. Everyone would be in futuristic attire, except for the black folk, who are still wearing sagging pants.

    1. Don’t be homophobic. Sagging pants are a signalling device that the wearer is on the down low and interested in receiving anal sex. Just remember the next time you see a pair of sagging pants that all it is a deeply-closeted kid looking for someone who will make love to his rectum with gusto.

      1. IOW, if you’re saggin’ you’re faggin’?

        1. Or at least open to a little power bottoming out on the mud flats.

    2. But the little thug-wannabe needs a good bitch-slapping.

      For expressing the opinion that cops have the attitude that “Nigga run up on me, he gunna get blown down.”?

      Because, given the white cop emoji, that’s how I read it.

      1. No, for idolizing / romanticising the thug life.

  19. That kid’s Facebook is something else… Bit too much of that cough syrup me thinks. Not that this whole emoji thing isn’t nonsense, but some people really shouldn’t be let near the internet.

  20. Inspector Maximo Tolentino is not even worth the trouble to scrape off the bottom of my shoe.
    Oh, wait, how’d he get on the bottom of my shoe?
    Was that a threat?
    Oh, Woe!
    Please Mr. Inspector, don’t come to my neighborhood, we’re trying to keep the property values up.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.