Former ICE chief Tom Homan said it was “disgusting” that a man who offered $500 on Twitter to kill ICE agents was acquitted last Friday.
“$500 to Anyone Who Kills an ICE Agent”
In July 2018, Brandon Ziobrowski, of Cambridge, Massachussets, wrote on Twitter to his roughly 400 followers, “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ice agent. @me seriously who else can pledge get in on this let’s make this work.”
He also tweeted about slitting the throat of the late Republican presidential candidate and senator, John McCain.
Assitant US Attorney Stephanie Siegmann said that his tweets were a “true threat” that required prosecuting.
“The defendants words were clear and unambiguous,” she said. “It put the lives of law enforcement at risk. That is not protected speech. That is a solicitation to commit murder.”
His lawyer, however, argued that the case “should never have gone this far,” arguing that “the government [has] turned a tweet that was made in jest — a hyperbolic political statement — into a federal case.”
The jury agreed, and acquitted Ziobrowski.
“Clearly a Terroristic Threat”
Tom Homan, the former head of ICE, told the Daily Caller that he was absolutely disgusted by the jury’s verdict.
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“This is clearly a terroristic threat,” Homan said. “He’s offering to pay someone to kill somebody else. In any state in the union, I would think, offering someone to kill somebody is a felony. How many cases have you seen where either wives or husbands hire an undercover cop to kill their spouse and they’ve been convicted?”
He added that he just couldn’t see how directly offering money to have someone killed counted as freedom of speech.
Homan was not exactly surprised about the verdict, however, pointing out that there are clearly “a different set of rules for places like Boston who have no respect for ICE because they are a sanctuary city, and they make ridiculous rulings.”
“People Hate ICE for All the Wrong Reasons”
Homan also blamed a number of politicians for pushing “false narratives” that lead people to hating ICE “for all the wrong reasons,” naming Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer as some of those responsible.
“People jump on the bandwagon” that they create, he explained.
This not the first time the former ICE chief has pulled up politicians for spreading lies about what the agency does. In September, he went after Pramila Jayapal, the vice chair of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship, during a session of the committee, and pointed out that many of the policies she and others criticised President Trump for, were started by the Obama administration.
“I’m not gonna sit there and let them tell lies about my president, tell lies about the men and women of the Border Patrol and ICE,” he told Fox News. “At a certain point it’s like, I’m not gonna shut up… Just because you have a gavel, doesn’t make you queen of the day, it doesn’t allow you to lie to the American people.”
No Laughing Matter
Ziobrowski’s words may have been simply deemed as jokes by the judge, but I don’t find them funny at all. There is a difference between free, political speech, which is clearly protected by the First Amendment, and a direct threat or call to action, which in my eyes, Ziobrowski’s tweets clearly fall under. You can, for example, wish death upon people, or tell them to kill themselves, but you cannot ask or demand people attack either an individual or a certain group, which are calls to action.
It’s not as if there is no history of violence against those who protect our border. In September, a woman threw a molotov cocktail into a building that houses offices of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In August, a gunman drove up to an ICE facility in San Antonion and shot through the windows. And in July, a man was shot dead by police after attempting to firebomb an ICE centre in Tacoma, Washington. In his manifesto that identified him as a member of the far-left antifa movement, he described the facilities “concentration camps,” a phrase that was first popularised by Ocasio-Cortez in relation to ICE detention centres.
Homan is right – Ziobrowski made a terroristic threat, and should have been punished accordingly. Tolerating those who would do us harm will only lead to more violence, and more innocents dead.
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