Bushwick, NY– Apparently you do not even need to use words to be “making a threat” these days. Seventeen year old Osiris Aristy was arrested on Sunday evening after posting a Facebook status using the police officer emoji and the gun emoji. There was no written threat included in the post we found.
Upon looking at his Facebook, there were seemingly no threats towards police written at all, at least not in any recent public posts, however, he did use over 200 emojis in just three days.
According to the criminal complaint, on January 15, Aristy posted “N***a run up on me, he gunna get blown down,’ followed by an emoji of a police officer with three gun emojis pointed at it, followed by “F**k the 83 104 79 98 73 PCTKKKK,” once again with the police officer emoji and two gun emojis pointed at it. These posts were not currently visible on his profile.
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.
Aristy was arrested on Jan. 18 around 2:46 in the morning at his home, for making “terrorist threats” due to his use of emojis and the fact that he had taken selfies with a weapon. The search resulted in him being charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of drugs and criminal possession of marijuana.
“As a result of this conduct, the defendant has caused informant and other New York City police officers to fear for their safety, for public safety, and to suffer alarm and annoyance,” their criminal complaint stated.
Fred Pratt, the attorney for Aristy has spoken out saying his clients posts did not constitute an actual threat towards police, stating that many people use the two emojis together. A fact that any social media user following police brutality can attest to.
“I understand that people found what he said distasteful and uncomfortable,” Pratt said, “but he never threatened to take action against police.”
While this young man does have a lengthy criminal history, this story is important, as people use this emoji combination quite frequently while reacting to brutality. Its becoming impossible to tell what will or will not be considered a “threat.”
“You make a threat on the internet, we’re going to be watching,” 83rd Precinct Inspector Maximo Tolentino said. “We are going to attempt to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.”
Since emojis are not actually words, one may argue that this is perhaps just artistic expression. Unfortunately the First Amendment has been under attack with extreme force in recent times and not many people seem too concerned. Less than a month ago we reported on Charlie DeRosa, a Massachusetts man who was arrested over his four word Facebook post that simply quoted the man who killed two NYPD officers.
Where exactly does “free speech” end now? Can someone please release a handbook?
Aristy’s bail is set at $150,000. His next court date is Friday.