Last year, this case caught much attention and I was informed by some victims of cyberharassment that law enforcement used the case decision as an excuse to not pursue charges for online threats. Some internet trolls were happy with the U.S. Supreme Court decision, assuming it addressed free speech. The decision did not. Rather, it addressed the reasonable person standard in the jury’s instructions, finding that the standard should have been reckless disregard.
“A U.S. appeals court has reinstated the conviction of a Freemansburg man who made threatening comments against his estranged wife and others on Facebook but defended them on free speech grounds as rap lyrics.”
“The ruling comes after the U.S. Supreme Court said the jury in the 2011 trial of Anthony Elonis was erroneously instructed and should have weighed Elonis’ intent in making the posts and not just their content.”
“The high court said the fact that people who read the posts found them threatening wasn’t enough to support his conviction, and to get a guilty verdict, prosecutors had to prove that the messages were intended as threats.”
“But on Friday, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said no jury could doubt Elonis knew the lyrics —which included talk of killing his estranged wife, shooting up a school and cutting an FBI agent’s throat — would intimidate his targets, despite appearing under an “entertainment only” disclaimer.”
“Based on our review of the record, we conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Elonis would have been convicted if the jury had been properly instructed. We therefore hold that the error was harmless, and uphold his conviction,” the court’s ruling said.”
The Washington Post
Matthew Cicero, who has worked as a Cleveland Metropolitan School District resource officer for five years, posted the comments several days after prosecutors declined to indict officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot and killed Rice within seconds of encountering the 12-year-old at a public park in November 2014. Officers did not administer first aid to the boy, and he died the next day.
Cicero’s posts have been deleted along with his entire Facebook page, but were ABC-affiliate WEWS captured images. Cicero began his rant by blaming Samaria Rice of being a bad parent under an emoji that said “feeling annoyed,” according to screenshots posted by the station.
“Tamir rices momma just want money,” he wrote. “Lets make the proper changes……raise your kids not to play with fake guns stupid b**ch. All this media because the are notgetting what they want…… Again pleeeeze anyone who does not like what I post…..unfriendly me or block me your not worth my time”
Another Facebook user pushed back, asking Cicero when a 12-year-old playing with a toy gun became “a solid platform for the death penalty?”
“This officer regardless of race was negligent and should be brought to justice for negligent homicide,” a Facebook user named Wendy Smith said. Read the rest of this entry
Ferguson Police Department Officer, and State Representative are Two Behind Donation Site for Darren Wilson
LA Times reports that two GoFundMe pages were setup to receive money for Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Darren Wilson was identified by the Ferguson Chief of Police as the officer who killed 18-year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014.
The two separate pages were titled “Support Officer Darren Wilson” that raised $235,750, and “Support Officer Wilson” that raised $197,620.
Because of racially offensive remarks in the comment section of one of the pages, Gofundme removed them.
On Saturday, August 30, 2014, both donation pages stopped taking donations around the same time. The pages’ organizers did not explain why. Kelsea Little, a spokesperson for GoFundMe, stated that the pages were not shutdown by GoFundMe. A Facebook Page titled “Support Officer Wilson” posted that lawyers were working on a solution as to why the GoFundMe page was shut down. Thus, there is controversy about how and why the pages were taken down. Read the rest of this entry