NYC

NYPD Arrests Gothamist Commenter Richard Strauss For Death Threat Against Ray Kelly

02/22/2012 11:03 am ET

The NYPD has arrested a commenter on Gothamist for making a death threat against Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, The New York Post reports.

47-year-old Richard Strauss--who was charged for gun possession in 2004 after firing shots out of his window--is allegedly the man behind the online moniker Ladder157, who left a disturbing comment on the Gothamist article "NYPD Spied On Muslims At Yale, Sent Undercover On Whitewater Rafting Trip."

The comment:

Ray Kelly is an enemy of the people and the constitution. As such, he should be treated as any other enemy of the U.S.A. would be. Kelly is a legitimate target due to his illegal actions. I took a federal oath to protect the U.S. Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic and Kelly is most assuredly a domestic enemy. A well placed round of 7.62 ammo to his thick skull would work quite well to eliminate the threat that he poses. All New Yorkers should aim their sights (both figuratively and literally) on this piece of excrement. Come get me Kelly if you have the balls and I don't mean the ones you suck on.

The tone is certainly militaristic, though clicking through on "Ladder157" leads to the website of the "Fully Informed Jury Association," a jurors' advocacy group.

Gothamist now reports their publisher, Jake Dobkin, was subpoenaed by the NYPD over the comment. Dobkin explains what happened:

In general, I try to evaluate every subpoena on the merits. If it's a subpoena in a civil case, we'll generally notify the commenter that someone is trying to get their information. Although now that we've switched to Disqus and Facebook authentication, we often don't have email addresses for the commenters, which makes them harder to contact. In criminal cases, the subpoena often prevents us from doing that- our only choice when we believe the subpoena was issued in error or bad faith is to have our lawyers fight it in court.

But in this case, where there was a clear death threat against a public official, I felt there was a strong reason to comply and give up the commenter's IP address (we didn't have his email.) That's not the kind of comment or commenter that we want on our site.

Be careful commenters in New York, the NYPD is reading you.

Death threats against the commissioner, of course, are nothing new. In a recent Esquire interview, Ray Kelly said, "Sure. You get death threats in this job. That's why I have these guys [referring to his security detail] with me. I'm a nice guy, but people want to kill me."

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