Arrest made in threat against Charlottesville schools that vowed ‘ethnic cleansing’
Police arrested a teenager in connection with a threat made to Charlottesville schools that forced them to shut down for two days
A 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection with terroristic threats made in Charlottesville, Va., that forced the closure of the city’s schools on Thursday and Friday.
The arrest comes a day after online threats were posted on the sites 4chan and 8chan, which are regularly used by white supremacists, warning of an “ethnic cleansing” and then made its rounds on Reddit. The outlet reported that a Charlottesville student made the post, The Daily Progress reported. The suspect also allegedly warned white students to stay home from school.
Schools were ordered shut down while police conducted an investigation.
According to statement posted on Facebook by Charlottesville police, the unidentified suspect was apprehended at 6 a.m., Friday and charged with threatening to commit serious bodily harm to people on school property, and with harassment by computer.
“The safety of our students and the staff was the top priority for the department, the city and the school district,” Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney said in the statement.
Both 4chan and 8chan were where threats made by white supremacist Brenton Tarrant were posted before he launched an attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand last week, killing 50 people.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for tech companies to tighten up its scrutiny of extremists on their sites and denounced the online threat.
“Less than a week after the horrific attack in New Zealand, we are again reminded of the danger social media poses as a forum for extremists and their calls for violence. The threats of ‘ethnic cleansing’ directed at Charlottesville High School via 4chan are a frightening development for a city that is still healing from the traumatic and lingering experience of the deadly Unite the Right rallies in 2017—which were also, in part, emboldened by the use of social media.,” Washington, D.C., regional director Doron Ezickson said in a statement.
“Social media companies must take responsibility for the role that their platforms have played in elevating extremism, and ADL continues to call upon tech CEOs to join the fight against hate, and decisively act to combat the scourge of extremism online.”