$50K Bail Set for Queens Teen Over 911 Turnpike Hoax Call

False alarm sparked racial profiling allegations against state troopers

Monday, Mar 1, 2010  |  Updated 12:37 PM EDT
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$50K Bail Set for Queens Teen Over 911 Turnpike Hoax Call

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Troopers pulled the bus over, got everyone out of the vehicle, put them in handcuffs and searched them and the bus in an effort to find the gunmen.

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Bail has been set at $50,000 for a teenager charged with making a hoax 911 call that led to the stop of a van full of minority teenagers along the New Jersey Turnpike.

Rodney Tanzymore, 19, was arrested last week at his Queens home and charged with causing a false public alarm. He made his first court appearance via video in Trenton on Monday.
       
Tanzymore was in the van with 10 other Queens teenagers and three chaperones. On Nov. 21, the group was driving through New Jersey as they returned from a visit to Howard University in Washington, an outing organized by a social service agency.
       
State police said the caller, who gave his name as David Smith and called from a cell phone that could only dial 911, claimed that passengers in the van had brandished handguns at a turnpike rest stop.
       
Troopers were advised by a supervisor to treat the stop as "high risk'' because of the possibility that guns were involved. Officers drew their rifles when they stopped the van, raising concerns over racial profiling.
       
According to Deputy Attorney General Mark Eliades, Tanzymore has acknowledged making the call.
       
Besides posting bail, Tanzymore was ordered on Monday to undergo a psychiatric evaluation because he has made fake 911 calls before.
       
In August, he was charged with false reporting for making a 911 call to police in Queens to report a man matching his description carrying a handgun. He pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to community service.
       
n Monday, Tanzymore's attorney admitted in court that the evidence is strong against his client, who lives with his grandparents and works at Macy's. Tanzymore's grandmother declined to comment.

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