A 56-year-old woman in a New York Jewish community has been arrested for allegedly posting a threatening Facebook comment last week in response to a picture of “a school bus with Hebrew writing on the side, and the underlying title ‘Coronavirus Surges in Hasidic Brooklyn as Schools Remain Open and Weddings Continue,’ ” announced the Ramapo Police Department on Thursday.
The same title and picture also appear in an article in the Brooklyn-based outlet Brownstoner. It is unclear if the unidentified female responded to a Facebook post that had a link with a preview to the article featuring the school bus.
According to the Ramapo Police Department in a Facebook post, “On March 24, 2020, the Ramapo Police Dept. Investigations Division was made aware of a Facebook comment that was posted on March 18, 2020.”
“The nature of the comment was in response to an apparent social media picture of a school bus with Hebrew writing on the side, and the underlying title ‘Coronavirus Surges in Hasidic Brooklyn as Schools Remain Open and Weddings Continue.’ The defendant’s comment does not appear to be directed at any particular sect in Brooklyn, nor any particular village or Hasidic community elsewhere,” continued the police department. “The comment does appear biased in nature and falls within the definition of the NYS Penal Law section of Making a Terrorist Threat, a class D Felony. Facebook has since removed the comment from the post at our request. The incident being investigated (comment to post) occurred within the Town of Ramapo’s jurisdiction.”
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In an update to its Facebook post, the police department stated that it is declining to release the actual comment, citing that the investigation is ongoing, and that “the release of such information may only further incite more inappropriate comments.”
“While we support everyone’s First Amendment rights, we ask that you kindly refrain from hateful speech towards any individuals or groups of people based upon their race, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc,” said the department.
The Chassidic community in the New York area has been subject to criticism for not adhering to government guidelines and orders in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Weddings and other events have been broken up by local authorities due to the lack of social distancing.
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