A US high-school student could face a criminal conviction and up to 14 years in prison after posting a joke on Twitter.
In a case reminiscent of the UK’s now-infamous “Twitter Joke Trial”, Scrimalli, 18, of Scranton, Pennsylvania has been arrested for “terroristic threats” after joking ahead of a local schools basketball game on 4 February:
“If there is a Facebook or twitter fight tonight over the HC MV game I will just blow up the schools and students involved. #goonsquad.”
The game was stopped in the first quarter and the venue evacuated.
According to local news station WNEP-TV, Scrimalli apologised, saying: “I had no intentions on scaring anyone or bringing violence into this. It was supposed to be a harmless tweet. I realised what it was after I posted it and I tried to get it off as soon as I could but I guess it was just too late.”
But authorities are pressing ahead with charges. Local Assistant District Attorney Gene Riccardo is quote as saying “Two municipalities, two school districts have been impacted by that decision so that’s why we’re going forward with these charges.”
Scrimalli was been released on $20,000 bail after h turned himself over to police on Tuesday night. Classmates and friends on Twitter have rallied around the hashtag #PrayForTorre.
The case comes as the United States debates weapon laws in the wake of December’s Sandy Hook school massacre, when 20 children and six adults were killed by a lone gunman.
Hat tip – Matt F