A terrorist threat is a terrorist threat, no matter if it’s spoken, written or...typed out in emoji.
At least, that’s what the New York Police Department must have been thinking when they arrested 17-year-old Osiris Aristy.
As DNAInfo reports, the teen from Bushwick, Brooklyn posted messages on Facebook, which included emojis of guns pointing at the heads of emoji police officers.
Aristy was arrested on 18 January at around 2:46 a.m. at his home on Wyckoff Avenue near Himrod Street for making terrorist threats, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of drugs and criminal possession of marijuana, according to the NYPD and prosecutors.
This was not the only controversial message the teen posted. There have been several posts, including "feel like katxhin [sic] a body right now." and "N***a run up on me, he gunna [sic] get blown down”
The criminal complaint says that this conduct has resulted in several New York City police officers fearing for their safety, as well as the safety of the public.
Inspector Maximo Tolentino of the 83rd Precinct told DNAInfo: "You make a threat on the internet, we're going to be watching."
Aristy's lawyer, Fred Pratt, insists that his client meant no harm, and says that many people use gun emojis and police emojis next to each other, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re threatening the police.
He told DNAInfo: "I understand that people found what he said distasteful and uncomfortable, but he never threatened to take action against police."