Buffalo man charged for Twitter threat to Black shoppers


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By Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press

Police walk outside the Tops grocery store in Buffalo, N.Y. on May 15. (Joshua Bessex / AP file)

A Black resident of Buffalo, New York, told investigators he anonymously tweeted out a fake threat to commit mass killings against Black people in his community, days after a real mass shooting, because he wanted to see if racists would cheer him on, according to federal prosecutors.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said Thursday that the suspect, 24, said in a May 16 post that he and “associates” would target Black people at area grocery stores — two days after a white gunman from Conklin, New York, opened fire at a Tops Friendly Market and killed 10 people.

He “stated that the purpose of the post was to see what everyone would say and if anyone would agree with him,” according to an FBI agent’s affidavit supporting the charge.

The suspect was charged with making an interstate threat. His assigned attorney declined to comment.

Read about the potential punishment.

Although this wasn’t a real threat, some people recognize the role that social media plays in anti-Black violence.

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