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Iowa man charged with using Facebook to threaten Roxbury mosque last fall

An Iowa man with an allegedly nasty temper was arrested this week on charges he posted two messages on the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center's Facebook page that appeared to pose the threat he would shoot up the mosque.

Gerald Wayne Ledford was arrested in Clinton, Iowa on Tuesday and is scheduled for arraignment in US District Court in Boston later this month on a charge of "transmitting in interstate or foreign commerce a communication containing a threat to injure the person of another."

According to an affidavit from an FBI agent involved in the case, Ledford left two messages on the society's Facebook page on Oct. 19. One involved general death-to-Moslems hate ranting. The other, however, showed "a photo of a man bearing a long gun with the caption, 'This is for you.followers of the piece of shit Mohamed ... ' "

The ISBCC's employee immediately made a screenshot of the postings, saved it to a folder on his computer, and then notified another ISBCC employee of the messages. The ISBCC gets hate messages all the time. Although the first ISBCC employee felt that these were just another two offensive postings, the second ISBCC employee's initial response was fearful because the image posted was that of a man with a gun and hinted at violence.

The society contacted the FBI, which started an investigation that included not only tracking Ledford's Facebook posts and search queries - which included turning up other photos showing the man in the society posting was Ledford himself - but actual physical surveillance of the house where he lived with his wife and mother-in-law.

The affidavit continues:

Although at this time investigators have no evidence that Ledford intended to actually shoot anyone at the ISBCC, there is probable cause to believe that Ledford intended the posts to be perceived as threats.

A day before the threats were found by ISBCC, Ledford used Account 100006744708316 to search for the term "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", a designated foreign terrorist organization, and then, about two minutes later, to search for the term "Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC)".

Both messages promise violence both explicitly -"we will destroy you here" and implicitly -"This is for you" accompanied by a picture of a person with a long gun.

Both messages include no indication that Ledford was joking or intended sarcasm, such as standard indications of such on the Internet, such as "LOL" ("laughing out loud"), "jk" ("just kidding"), "r)" (a smiley face), or ";)" (a winking smiley face).

Both messages promise violence against Muslims and were posted on the wall of an organization that serves Muslims.

They were posted not as a general rant on the poster's own Facebook wall, but rather on the Facebook wall of an organization that serves the people whom the posts threaten.

Ledford has threatened others with a firearm before. Ledford has a 2013 charge of "intimidation with a dangerous weapon" in Iowa for which he received a two-year suspended sentence, as well as one year of unsupervised probation. Reports from this incident state that he discharged a firearm and cite the victim as claiming that Ledford, "threatened to kill her, light the house on fire, and then kill himself."

Innocent, etc.

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PDF icon Affidavit in Ledford case485.72 KB

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Comments

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I'll bet you ten bucks Gerald Wayne Ledford frequented websites that published stories about how that mosque was radicalizing members.

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Wait, that's exactly what FISH was arguing here yesterday! And now we see the end results of his callous actions: his accusations of radicalization have radicalized this previously-calm man. I hope he's properly ashamed of himself.

r)

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...said any number of GOP campaign strategists who were counting on Gerry's support in the Iowa caucuses

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Maybe he'll vote for Bernie Sanders.

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Wut?

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: )

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Seriously, this guy will be a hero to the GOP. He made a specific threat similar to many in the GOP have made in general (not at a specific mosque or Muslim). Intolerance of everything but Duggarville is the GOP way.

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nice to know the FBI will monitor my use of emoticons to know whether I am kidding or not.

I <3 the FBI :) :) :) :) :)

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Yah, next time I threaten someone on the interwebz, I'll make sure to use txt-speak, lolz jk omgwtfbbq ;))))

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Make a credible threat of violence on social media and you'll get busted for breaking Federal law.

Burn a cross on the lawn of a black family and it's a credible threat of violence. Burn a cross in a field on the edge of town and it's protected speech.

How do I know that? There was a BC law prof. as a guest on one of the local news programs yesterday.

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because that seems like a rather reasonable path for the law to take...

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.

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...is that the story contains a lot of info, usually, and Adam does seem to update them a lot if new info comes out.
The last paragraph tells of a prior conviction where a gun was discharged. So, ya, it isn't free speech, I guess. It's a credible threat.

New SC ruling: Elonis v. United States
Guy bitched out his wife, but wasn't a real threat. I think. IANAL.

So, basically, looks like a good catch by the Feds.

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And he whips out a huge knife and starts swinging it at them, they should shoot him.

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The ISBCC gets hate messages all the time.

If that doesn't really bother you, it should.

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Is this the $2 million piece of land that Menino gave away to the Islamists for $170,000? Glad the feds finally got to the crime scene.

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"Islamist". "Muslim". Look them up. Learn the difference. If you can't be arsed to do that, then shut your cake-hole.

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Now the local orthodoxy can get back to hating on the real enemy here.

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...before you try to pretend you know words in other languages. "Inshallah" means "if God wills it". It does not mean "thank God", you thickwitted throwback bigot.

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Must have been tough on you the last few days, given who and what it was they believed in, loping around Rozzie looking to behead a cop.

But now you're back in your comfort zone, hating the correct (color, sex, nationality) kind of people.

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Please, take your meds. You are out of your mind.

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Both messages include no indication that Ledford was joking or intended sarcasm, such as standard indications of such on the Internet, such as "LOL" ("laughing out loud"), "jk" ("just kidding"), "r)" (a smiley face), or ";)" (a winking smiley face).

Note to self: when making public threats, remember to end every message with "r)", which is apparently an effective deterrent to attracting the FBI's attention.

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