A Westchester man who had expressed support for radical Islamic extremism faces prison time after allegedly making repeated threats to kill police officers and a mayor, officials said.
Yonkers resident Ridon Kola, age 32, was arrested on Friday, March 17, and charged with making threats to kill members of the city's police department and the city's mayor, Mike Spano, according to the US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.
Kola first allegedly started making the threats on Nov. 19, 2021, when he posted a message in Albanian on a Yonkers PD official social media account that translated to, "I am going to slaughter you little girls."
Weeks later, on Dec. 5, 2021, Kola again posted a message on the account, writing, "Starting tomorrow I will start killing your officers just so u know who is doing it, Ridon Kola Albanian blood,” also threatening to kill Spano as well.
After these first threats, Yonkers detectives then went to Kola's residence to interview him. During the interview, Kola admitted to making the posts but then claimed that he had no plans to harm officers or Spano.
Based on Kola's demeanor though, the department issued a warning to officers, saying they should use caution during encounters with him, officials said.
Years later, Kola allegedly began making escalated threats again in January 2023, and posted multiple online statements expressing his support for "jihad" and going to war against "non-Muslims." He also expressed support for establishing a "caliphate" and depicted a raised finger gesture used by groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
On Monday, March 6, Kola allegedly sent a direct message to a Yonkers PD social media account that referenced their 2021 interview with him, which read, "I’m looking for that officer that came to my house and threatened me and my family to kill us. I’m going to burn the world until I find him Vallahi [by God], no matter what happens to me there will never be peace in this country anymore! Allahu Ekberr.”
Days later on Thursday, March 9, Kola's social media account profile began to include the statement, "Now is personal America and the world!!!” as well as a threat to burn “cia fbi nsa police jud(g)es alive w their families too!”
On the same day, Kola allegedly sent two more messages to the Yonkers PD social media account. One read, "First people to be crucified will be the Yonkers rats Vallahi. Allahu Ekberr."
The second message said, "I will crucify Yonkers cops and their bosses all along McLean ave. It will be a horror scene . . . Allahu Ekberr.”
This second message referenced McLean Avenue in Yonkers, which is the route that the Yonkers St. Patrick’s Day Parade will use on Saturday, March 18, where numerous Yonkers officers will be located. Kola's residence is in the area of the parade route, according to officials.
In yet another concerning post, on Sunday, March 12, Kola posted a photograph of himself holding an axe with a statement in Albanian that translated to "Come on Judas, I’m waiting for you.”
Following his arrest, Kola was charged with making threatening interstate communications. He faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison.
Damien Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said that Kola's threats against police and city officials would not be acceptable.
"Threatening violence against police or to undermine public safety will not be tolerated, as Kola now stands charged and faces prison time for his threats against our dedicated law enforcement partners tasked with keeping us safe," Williams said.
Yonkers Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza said that thanks to Kola's arrest, Yonkers could enjoy "a safe Saint Patrick’s Day parade tomorrow free from intimidation by bad actors.”
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