NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A teenage boy from Bushwick, Brooklyn has learned the hard way that you can’t just post anything you want on Facebook.
As CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported Friday evening, police said not just the words that Osiris Aristy posted, but also the digital cartoon images – or emoji – led to his arrest.
Police said Aristy, 17, posted what they call threatening and harassing content.
A police informant saw a post dated Jan. 15 that read, “(Expletive) run up on me, he gunna (sic) get blown down.” The words were followed by emoji — one of them representing the head of a police officer, followed by three guns pointing at it.
Police said that is a clear threat.
“You have to take all these threats seriously,” said retired NYPD Detective Sgt. Joseph Giacalone.
Giacalone is a law enforcement expert, and he said some people do not realize that Facebook posts are not without possible consequences.
“You post this stuff on social media, which is kind of is like, ‘Just look at me,’” Giacalone said. “They don’t understand the consequences of what their actions are.”
Investigators said when detectives arrived at Aristy’s address arrest him, they found drug paraphernalia and a weapon.
They said they also found marijuana.
Aristy was charged with making terroristic threats, aggravated harassment, and possession of a weapon and drugs.
Closer inspection of the Facebook posts revealed more messages including, “(Expletive) the 83, 104, 79, 98, 73 PCTKKK,” apparently referencing several police precincts in Brooklyn and Queens.
CBS2 went to Aristy’s address on Wyckoff Avenue, but no one answered the door.
Some neighbors said the arrest should serve as a reminder for everyone to be careful.
“He should be questioned, ‘Why you are doing this?’” said neighbor Marisol Ramirez.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to watch what you say,” said Tynitty Hunte.
But attorney Leon Friedman questioned whether the use of emoji is as big a deal as police made it out to be.
“People play with emojis all the time,” said Leon Friedman. “Why would that automatically consist of a threat?”
Friedman specializes in First Amendment law, and questioned whether Friedman’s Facebook posts rise to the level of a criminal threat.
“It’s a little hard to believe he has a subjective intent to kill someone when he puts these emojis together,” Friedman said. “‘Maybe, maybe not’ is not enough to send someone to jail.”
Aristy was arraigned this past Monday. His bail was set at $150,000.