PUBLIC SAFETY: A Monmouth County man who became a lighting rod, of sorts, for anti-police sentiment had charges against him dismissed last week by a judge for a Facebook post that said officers deserve to die.
Assignment Judge Lisa Thornton called the comment of Matthew Reardon, 29, of Tinton Falls too trivial to prosecute.
Police arrested Matthew Reardon following a Dec. 21, 2014 post in a Facebook discussion:
“Don’t wana [sic] get clipped while sitting in your squad car??” he wrote. “Eon’t be a f—-t ass p-g whos [sic] looking to get killed. F–k you. Everyone who goes out of their way to f–k with people, should get executed in cold blood. Don’t be a d–k.”
Reardon wrote the post two days after NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjan Liu were ambushed and killed by a lone gunman while sitting in their cruiser on a Brooklyn street following Internet threats.
The shooter, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, then turned the gun on himself.
Hours earlier, Brinsley posted a photo of the gun he used on his Instagram account with the caption: “I’m going to put wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours…Let’s take 2 of theirs #ShootThePolice #RIPErivGardner [sic] #RIPMikeBorwn This may be my final post.”
Reardon — fired as a drummer with trip hop artist Kiirstin Marilyn — shouted “mommy,” along with expletives, as he stood in the street before his arrest, according to a criminal complaint on file in Freehold.
Authorities originally charged him with aggravated assault and making a terroristic threat but downgraded them to harassment and obstruction of justice in May.
Reardon was among several people in various states taken into custody for backing violence against police officers in the days following the double homicide, authorities said.
“If you threaten to kill – or incite others to kill – police officers, you will get some very serious attention from this office, the FBI, and other appropriate authorities,” US Attorney John Walsh said at the time.
“Those who threaten the lives of law enforcement officers through interstate communications will be fully investigated by the FBI and our partners,” added FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Thomas Ravenelle. “The perceived anonymity of the Internet will not serve as a shield for espousing violence in violation of federal law.”
Attorney Richard Lomurro said the judge’s ruling “emphasizes that First Amendment rights apply to all platforms, including Facebook and social media.”
Although speech may be offensive, Lomurro told Nj.com, “we can’t allow people to be jailed for expressing an opinion when no crime has occurred.”
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