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They Retweeted a Cop's Photo, Got Charged With a Felony

New Jersey police say it was 'cyber harassment'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2020 12:14 PM CDT
Updated Aug 9, 2020 1:15 PM CDT

(Newser) – Five people are facing felony charges for tweeting or retweeting a photo of a New Jersey cop in a Blue Lives Matter face mask. When protester Kevin Alfaro tweeted a photo of the Nutley officer, saying, "If anyone knows who this b---- is throw his info under this tweet," the officer's identity apparently was not revealed, but he found out Detective Peter Sandomenico's name when he received a summons for cyber harassment, a fourth-degree felony, the Verge reports. Four people who retweeted the post face the same charge, which carries a maximum penalty of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine. The legal complaint states that the tweet caused the officer to "fear that harm will come to himself, family, and property."

In a GoFundMe appeal, Alfaro, 21, says he took the picture of the officer at a June 25 Black Lives Matter protest, where police who had covered their badges seemed "very friendly" with counter-protesters who were threatening the BLM demonstrators. He says he uploaded the photo in an "attempt to identify a specific police officer who was befriending someone harassing me." A lawyer for 20-year-old pharmacy technician Georgina Sziszak, one of the retweeters, says they were exercising their First Amendment rights and he finds the felony charge perplexing. "I've never seen anything like it," Alan Peyrouton tells the Washington Post. "How could this rise to the level of a crime? She just mindlessly retweeted." (Read more New Jersey stories.)

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