Florida college student arrested for threatening to kill professor for scheduling a 7am final
Many of us exaggerate when we speak, especially when we're passionate or emotional about something. Countless times someone will say they could 'literally eat a horse,' but we know it's all just a figurative way of speaking. However, there are some ways of speaking that are far more inflammatory than others.
For instance if you shout 'bomb' in the middle of an airport, odds are security are going to have some questions for you. The same goes for threats, regardless of how seriously you meant them. While Twitter is notoriously bad at banning users for abusive comments and death threats, it turns out that one comment a student made on the platform got him in serious trouble...
A student at Florida Atlantic University was arrested last week, after allegedly making a public threat online. Rafael Decomas, 20, from Riviera Beach, Florida, was said to have issued the threat because his professor had scheduled an exam early in the morning. While he claims it wasn't a serious threat, he has been charged with intimidation, with a written threat to kill or injure.
Police were reportedly tipped off to his tweet, under the account name of 'Cutie Claus', where he tweeted, “Bey I gern fucking kill dis professor bey this is my confession to a premeditated murder.”
The tweet was deleted shortly after it was published, but it was too late. In fact, the deletion of the tweet probably made it look more suspicious, if anything. An officer later explained that they were able to cross reference the information on the Twitter profile with a database of students at Florida Atlantic University, determining that the tweet was sent out by the current student.
They soon got in contact with Decomas, suggesting that he voluntarily turn himself into the local police department. He did as they asked, and once there confirmed that it was indeed his Twitter account and tweet. He also stated that he had no plan “to harm anyone," but had simply "tweeted the post out of frustration" after his data structure professor scheduled the class' final exam for 7 AM.
“Decomas advised that he was upset at the news since he lives in Riviera Beach, and would need to wake up at [5 a.m.],” the police said in their report. The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office later confirmed to BuzzFeed News that Decomas was later released, although on a $5,000 bond. When asked for comment, the FAU Police Department said that they are still investigating the case.
If there's a lesson here, it's that words - even when posted in something as simple as a tweet - can have serious consequences. So maybe if you're going to vent some frustration, don't say something which would could be read as a genuine threat.