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Terrorist Charge Dropped Against Teen Accused of Emoji Threats to Police

By Serena Dai | February 3, 2015 7:31am
 Osiris Aristy, 17, was arrested in Bushwick after posting a Facebook status that depicted gun emojis next to cop emojis.
Osiris Aristy, 17, was arrested in Bushwick after posting a Facebook status that depicted gun emojis next to cop emojis.
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Facebook/Osiris Aristy

BUSHWICK — A teen arrested after posting a Facebook status with gun emojis pointed at police emojis is no longer facing a charge of making terrorist threats against the NYPD, his attorney said.

A grand jury decided against indicting Osiris Aristy, 17, on charges that he threatened to kill police by writing statuses like "N***a run up on me, he gunna get blown down," followed by an emoji of a police officer with three gun emojis pointed at it, his defense attorney Fred Pratt said.

Pratt said he received word from the prosecutor who presented the case to the grand jury that the panel declined to indict Aristy on the terrorist-threat charge.

Aristy, who was arrested at his home in Bushwick on Jan. 18, still faces a charge of criminal possession of a weapon for the .38-caliber Smith and Wesson gun police said they found in his bedroom, Pratt said.

Police also said they found 21 Ziploc bags filled with marijuana in Aristy's living room, but it was unclear if he was indicted on the drug charges.

Officials with the Brooklyn District Attorney's office said the case was under investigation and would not comment.

Still, Pratt said he wasn't surprised the terrorist-threat charge had been dropped.

"The charge was an overreach by both the police and the DA's office," said Pratt, who works for the Legal Aid Society. "Clearly there was no threat conveyed."

Police obtained an arrest warrant to go to Aristy's home on Wyckoff Avenue near Himrod Street after he posted several Facebook statuses that mentioned guns and featured police officer emojis next to gun emojis.

Other posts on Aristy's Facebook showed him holding a gun, with one caption reading, "feel like katxhin a body right now," according to a criminal complaint.

"As a result of this conduct, the defendant has caused informant and other New York City police officers to fear for their safety, for public safety, and to suffer alarm and annoyance," the complaint said.

The DA's office originally charged Aristy with making terrorist threats, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal use of drugs and criminal possession of marijuana.

Pratt said he may also challenge whether police had probable cause to "ransack" Aristy's home after discovering the teen's Facebook posts.

"I think it's an overreaction," Pratt said.

Deputy Inspector Maximo Tolentino, commanding officer of Bushwick's 83rd Precinct, had previously told residents at a community board meeting that police were watching closely for social media posts, saying that any potential threat would be taken seriously.

He said that Aristy "was not a good guy" and that he had "targeted this community on numerous occasions" in the past.

The teen had 12 previous arrests, according to police, including busts for robbery, assault, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal possession of a weapon.

He also pleaded guilty to first-degree robbery in October after attacking people on two separate occasions, first with a beer bottle and then with a knife, authorities said.

Aristy is currently being held on Rikers Island on $99,999 bail, according to the Department of Corrections.

His next court date is set for April 23.