Friday, a suspect was finally arrested for allegedly threatening to bomb Harvard and shoot attendees of the its 2017 Black Commencement last year.
The United States attorney’s office announced last Saturday that Phoenix, Arizona resident Nicholas Zuckerman, will be facing two counts of “transmitting in interstate and foreign commerce a threat to injure the person of another—and of singling out the people he threatened because of their ‘race and color’.”
Investigators believe that on May 13, 2017, Zuckerman commented on a post on Harvard’s Instagram account calling for “violence and death” at the University’s first Black Commencement. The ceremony, held in late May 2017, was the first for the institution and meant to celebrate Black achievement across Harvard’s schools while acknowledging challenges that people of color face at the predominantly white university.
When the right-wing blog, Daily Wire heard about the gathering, they falsely reported that Harvard had made plans to “segregate graduation ceremonies based on race.”
While the Black Commencement ceremony was approved by the university, it was actually a student-run event, and never meant to replace the main commencement ceremony at which graduates of all races received their diplomas.
Unfortunately, Zuckerman is believed to have been incited by the false news story and started making threats against Black students as a form of protest.
“If the blacks only ceremony happens, then I encourage violence and death at it,” he allegedly wrote. “I’m thinking two automatics with extendo clips.”
Zuckerman is also suspected of commenting on another Harvard Instagram post on the same day, writing: “#bombharvard and end their pro-black agenda.”
The university learned of the posts after “a concerned citizen” reported them to the Harvard University Police Department on May 13th. The following day, a HUPD officer “viewed and documented” the comments, according to Zuckerman’s indictment.
The 24-year-old faces a slew of charges that carry a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. A federal district court judge will impose a sentence on Zuckerman if he is found guilty.