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A Connecticut man was cuffed this week for allegedly making Twitter threats against the New York Mets.
Police say horror film enthusiast Aryn Leroux, 42, of West Haven, allegedly threatened Mets players and even tweeted plans to slash team managers in an attack reminiscent of "Friday the 13th."
Leroux was charged with second-degree threatening and breach of peace, which are both misdemeanors.
Twitter offers fans a uniquely personal way to react and interact with professional athletes. But a Twitter tirade laced with threats can lead to pretty serious legal consequences.
Laws in all 50 states prohibit threats aimed at intimidating or menacing others, in speech or in writing. In general, state laws make it illegal to threaten:
Leroux may have been just another obnoxious Twitter troll. But he crossed the line into criminal territory when he tweeted plans to hide bombs in every player's cleats, blow up Citi Field, and skin team manager Terry Collins alive, reports the New York Post.
Of course Twitter threats against pro sports figures are nothing new. Just this week, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs revealed on Twitter that he'd received a death threat. And you may recall some San Francisco 49ers fan(atic)s hurled Twitter threats at Kyle Williams after a fumble in 2012.
Disturbing the Peace
Threats pitched via Twitter can also constitute disturbing the peace. Otherwise known as breach of the peace, the charge covers a variety of disorderly conduct that jeopardizes other people's rights to peace and tranquility.
In most states, the person's conduct must have been on purpose (willful) or committed with bad intent (malicious). Connecticut requires intent and evidence of threats against persons or property.
Leroux, an apparent trolling perfectionist, allegedly threatened persons and property with intent...
Though neither of Leroux's misdemeanor charges are considered particularly serious, if convicted he could face fines, jail time, or both.