Claim: An 18-year-old student named Cameron D'Ambrosio was arrested on terrorism charges over material he posted on Facebook.
Examples:[Collected via e-mail, May 2013]
After you read this kid's story, you'll think twice about what you post on Facebook. (And that's the problem.)
Meet Cameron D'Ambrosio. He's 18 and lives in a small town outside Boston. He wants to be a rapper and calls himself "Cammy Dee" in his YouTube
Oh, and he's been locked up without bail for weeks — facing terrorism charges and 20 years in prison — all for something he posted on Facebook.
On May 1st, Cam was skipping school and messing around online. He posted some lyrics that included a vague reference to the Boston Marathon Bombing and called the Whitehouse a "federal house of horror." Shortly after that he was arrested and charged with Communicating a Terrorist Threat, a felony that carries 20 years in prison.
The post contained no specific threat of violence against any person or group of people, and in the context of the rest of the lyrics and Cams' rap persona, it was clearly nothing more than a metaphor. A search of Cam's house found NO evidence that he was planning any violence, but a judge still ordered him held without bail for the next 3 months, pending trial.
Origins: On 1 May 2013, Cameron D'Ambrosio, an 18-year-old student from Methuen High School (about 30 miles north of Boston), was arrested on terrorism-related charges due to material he had posted on Facebook that was deemed to be threatening:
Methuen Police Chief Joe Solomon said that D'Ambrosio a sent text message and posted terrorist threats on social media.
"He posted a threat in the form of rap where he mentioned the White House, the Boston Marathon bombing, and said 'everybody you will see what I am going to do, kill people.'"
The police chief says that D'Ambrosio faces up to 20 years for felony charges of communicating terrorist threats.
Bail has been set at $1 million.
"I do want to make clear he did not make a specific threat against the school or any particular individuals but he did threaten to kill a bunch of people and specifically mentioned the Boston Marathon and the White House. The threat was disturbing enough for us to act and I think our officers did the right thing."
The bomb threat allegedly made by D'Ambrosio was a Facebook posting where he bragged: "F*** a boston bomb wait till u see the s*** I do, I'm be famous rapping, and beat every murder charge that comes across me!"
D'Ambrosio had disturbing photos and posts on his Facebook page including Fuck politics, Fuck Obama and Fuck the government!!.
He also had a "disturbing satanic photo" posted as well as a photo of himself on a 'Wanted Poster" that reads 'Wanted Dead or Alive." A quick perusal of his Facebook page shows D'Ambrosio's unusual interest in gangs, violence and a criminal lifestyle.
According to police reports, D'Ambrosio has a history of making violent threats, once to his sister and once to a pair of eighth graders. Police responded to an incident in 2006 in which a neighbor reported that D'Ambrosio bit her son on the arm during a fight. In September 2012, another student severely beat D'Ambrosio, rupturing his spleen and putting him in the hospital, over a Facebook post by D'Ambrosio about the student's girlfriend. At a 9 May 2013 hearing, a judge called D'Ambrosio a threat to the community and ordered him held without bail for up to 90 days:
"I believe the behavior here has been escalating," Judge Lynn Rooney said after reviewing a half dozen records of police and probation reports prosecutors submitted at the hearing. "And it's very troubling."
The reports included D'Ambrosio's arrest in June 2012 after a fight over $20 with his older sister, who called police after locking herself in her room. During the argument, D'Ambrosio pushed her and, after she locked herself in her bedroom, threatened to stab her, according to the arrest report
Rooney said she also was troubled by a police report from November 2011, which said D'Ambrosio threatened to shoot two eighth-grade students. Police said he admitted to making that statement, but was only kidding
As the North Andover Eagle-Tribune noted of the controversy provoked by D'Ambrosio's arrest:
Two arguments have developed around D'Ambrosio's arrest, his expletive-laced violent post and the balancing of freedom of expression with security, and specifically the need to prevent lethal random violence.
One argument is that the post, which included a vague boast of outdoing the Marathon bombing and killing people to get respect, is a threat to commit violence and the latest in a series of threats from the young man. Another is that the post is the expression of an artist using rap's egotistical swaggering style and a reflection of a violent culture and world, giving D'Ambrosio’s post protection under the First Amendment.
Complicating D’Ambrosio's case, roughly 40 students came to Methuen High School associate principal James Weymouth and other administrators on May 1 to report the post and express alarm at its content.
Cameron D'Ambrosio's Facebook page has apparently since been deleted, but at least one version of his rap is still available on YouTube:
On 7 June 2013, a judge ordered D'Ambrosio to be released immediately after the grand jury in the case chose not to indict him.