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Police Must Monitor Threats on Social Media

The nation’s police are waking up to the fact that they have to pay more attention to threats on social media following the brutal murders of two New York City police officers by a deranged assassin in Brooklyn.
After Baltimore resident Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, 28, shot his girlfriend in the stomach, but well before he gunned down NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu Saturday, he posted his intentions on his girlfriend’s Instagram account, saying he would put “wings on pigs,” in revenge for the slaying of two black men by police, USA Today reported.
His posts even included photos of his bloodstained pants and the 9mm Taurus pistol he would use to shoot his girlfriend, murder the police officers and, later, kill himself, the Washington Post reported.
Baltimore police located Brinsley in Brooklyn by tracking his cell phone, called the NYPD and faxed a copy of his wanted poster, but by then, it was too late to stop him.
After the murder of the two policemen, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took note of the Internet connection, asking the public, “If you see something on social media that is a threat against a police officer, call 911 immediately. We would much rather get too much information than too little. Once this individual posted on Facebook his intention, anyone who sees that has the obligation to call the police immediately and report it. We cannot take this lightly,” the Post reported.
Kenneth S. Springer, a former FBI agent and operator of Corporate Resolutions in New York, a firm that tracks online threats for clients, told the Post, “Back in my day, the FBI had wiretaps or surveillance to find out where people will be meeting. Now it’s monitoring the Internet. That’s why law enforcement is going to have to devote more resources to this. And hopefully they’ll thwart the next thing such as this.”
Proof of increased police interest in Internet threats came in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, when cops arrested Matthew Reardon, 29, who had posted on the Web, “Don’t wanna get clipped while sitting in your squad car?? Don’t be a (expletives deleted) pig who’s looking to get killed…Everyone who goes out of their way to (expletive deleted) with other people should get executed in cold blood,” USA Today reported.
Tim Burrows, a retired Toronto police sergeant, told the Post, “Police would rather chase down 1,000 false leads than see something that happened in Brooklyn Saturday.”
Burrows noted that Baltimore police used a fax machine to warn New York cops about Brinsley, telling the Post, “Even in the way the alerting system works, maybe law enforcement has to look at that as well. There are the agencies that still think the fax machine is the best way to communicate, and we’re slowly trying to draw them into the 21st century.”
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