A New Jersey State Police sergeant’s teenage daughter who dressed like Hitler and posted a picture of a popular gathering spot for Orthodox Jews on social media with the caption “perfect bombing time” may have behaved offensively but not criminally authorities said Thursday.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office examined the Twitter post and a cache of other pro-Hitler images from the Jackson teen and her associates and concluded that they did not amount to any credible threat.
“There was never any danger being posed to the community,” said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the office. “It didn’t rise to anything criminal.”
The one teen’s connection to law enforcement afforded her no special treatment, Della Fave said, even as police remain on heightened alert for terrorism and threats conveyed through social media. He also dismissed any suggestion that authorities would have taken a harsher view if the posters — apparently all white — were of a different background.
“Everything was evaluated at face value,” he said. “We have been assured by the families and the school that this is something that will be handled.”
In cases nationwide with similar circumstances, people who are Muslim frequently are subjected to more intensive interrogations and prosecutions than those who are white, said communications director Ibraham Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil-liberties advocacy organization.
“If it had been a Muslim, this almost certainly would have been handled differently,” Hooper said. “If it’s associated with Muslims, it will be viewed as terrorism. If not, it will be viewed as something random and minor.”
Avi Schnall, New Jersey director of Agudath Israel advocacy organization for the Orthodox community, supported the decision not to file charges but found little solace in the determination.
“We could comfort ourselves and say that these are just immature teenagers fooling around,” said Schnall, who lives in Lakewood, N.J. “But when Hitler becomes another costume that teenagers dress up in, and bombing a group of Jews becomes humorous, that tells us something is very wrong with our society.”
SOURCE: Kevin Pentón
Asbury Park (N.J.) Press