A West Palm Beach teen has been arrested in Canada amid a threat against the Pride parade recently. The teen’s name has not been released. He is believed to be a Canadian citizen but claimed to be a Palm Beach County resident. Miami police first reported the threat and sent word to the WPB police department. Both the FBI and NYC police were involved in the investigation.
During a press conference, police reiterated their commitment to protecting the LGBTQ community and stated that the teen would be extradited to West Palm Beach to face charges here in the United States.
The teen had posted a video online which included waving around a handgun and making threats against the Pride on the Block event which took place during the Pride parade. During the video, the teen claimed he was a West Palm Beach resident.
The threat resulted in an uptick in security at the event and could have easily resulted in a misunderstanding with the police. In this case, the teen was wearing dreadlocks. It may have been an effort to start an altercation between the public and police by targeting individuals with dreadlocks.
What will happen to the teen now?
The U.S. and WPB police will file a formal extradition request with the Canadian government. The Canadian government will only permit extradition if the conduct is considered a crime in both countries. In this case, making a terrorist threat against a public event for the purpose of causing fear in a protected community is illegal in Canada too. In this case, WPB police contacted Canadian authorities to perform the arrest and will then file an extradition request with the Canadian government. The Canadian government may be eager to fulfill the request or they may wish to adjudicate the matter themselves.
If the teen is brought back to Florida to face charges, he would face at least one count of making a terror threat which is considered a second-degree felony and punishable by up to 15 years. That’s just for making the threat. The question then becomes: Is this just a threat or is threatening a public event populated with thousands of people in and of itself an act of terrorism? It could be similar to yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Luckily, no one was injured by the heightened vigilance of law enforcement or tensions among the public.
Law enforcement aggressively prosecutes terror threats because they assume that the individual would go through with the threat if they had the opportunity. Teens have a special dispensation in these cases when they call in a bomb threat at their school because they want to get out of a test. They may end up with a juvenile record and be placed into an intensive mental health program. However, when the threat is also against a protected minority and considered a hate crime, that dispensation tends to vanish. The government isn’t fooling around when it comes to mass shootings.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
The Skier Law Firm, P.A. represents the interests of those who have been charged with serious crimes in West Palm Beach. Call a West Palm Beach criminal defense attorney at our office today to schedule an appointment and we can begin discussing defense strategy immediately.