A 24-year-old Westchester County man has been charged with posting threats against police officers on social media, according to a federal criminal complaint.
Jeremy Mott, of Mount Vernon, was arrested by the FBI at his home Tuesday. The complaint alleges he posted the threats to his Facebook and Instagram accounts on Christmas Eve.
Mott allegedly posted an Instagram message at 10:48 a.m. that day that said, in part, "THEY BETTER KEEP THAT CRAZY SHYT AWAY FROM MOUNT VERNON."
The message included a photo of an individual discharging a firearm into a police vehicle through the driver’s side window, according to the criminal complaint. It also included a graphical depiction of a firearm pointing at a police officer’s head.
The Facebook message, posted less than five minutes after the Instagram one, said, "I SWEAR IF THE COPS IN MOUNT VERNON THINK THEY CAN FOLLOW THE MADNESS THIS IS HOW THEY GOING TO END UP," according to the complaint. The message included the same image of a person shooting a gun into a police car through the driver's side window.
Both messages appear to have been removed from the accounts the complaint says are registered in Mott's name.
Mott is expected to appear in federal court in White Plains later Tuesday. He is charged with transmitting interstate commerce threats to injure another individual -- an offense that carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail.
Information on an attorney for him wasn't immediately available.
“We will not tolerate threats of violence against police officers. Period," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. "Here, as alleged, social media were used for the threat. Law enforcement should not have to wait to see whether a threat will be acted on, so now the defendant will have to answer for his threatening intentions, as charged."
Police forces across the country have been on high alert since a gunman apparently bent on retribution for the police-involved deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, fatally shot two NYPD officers as they sat in their squad car in Brooklyn Dec. 20.
The NYPD has been stepping up security at some stationhouses and there have been several arrests in terroristic threat cases against the department in recent weeks.