Since July, authorities in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania have arrested several individuals for threatening government officials and law enforcement online. Each of these individuals leveraged social media and email platforms to target public officials, including a US Congressman, a US Senator, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, court officials, and law enforcement officers.
- On July 28, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office charged Dereal Finklin with making terroristic threats and cyberbullying after he threatened US Representative Christopher Smith on Facebook. Prosecutors allege that Finklin posted a picture of Congressman Smith, who represents New Jersey’s fourth congressional district, under his Facebook alias, “Israel Bey,” on July 26 and made a series of online death threats.
- On July 20, FBI Philadelphia and several other law enforcement agencies received a threatening email from a male individual that stated, “I attached a file with only one intent which is to hurt the Nazis employed by Abington Police [sic].” The individual attached a typed letter to the email that mentioned specific law enforcement officers, judges, and the Seventh District of the Philadelphia Police Department. A portion of the letter added, “When Abington Police [sic] wakes up today they’ll know how they got hit.”
- On July 2, Brandon Ziobrowski allegedly posted a Twitter message that said, “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent [sic].” According to his indictment, he previously posted on Twitter about his desire to “slit” the throat of US Senator John McCain and consistently promoted violence against law enforcement. Authorities arrested Ziobrowski in New York on August 8, charging him with the use of interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person.
Suspicious Activity Reporting
We encourage all partners to report suspicious activity to local and county law enforcement, and to NJOHSP’s CTWatch by calling 866-4SAFENJ (866-472-3365) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.