After trying to hire a hitman on social media, a 33 year old resident of Massachusetts has found himself arrested in the state of New York. Brandon Ziobrowski was very clear when he tweeted that he would pay anyone who would kill an ICE agent $500. It is the hope of law enforcement that Ziobrowski’s arrest will send out a strong message to others who may share similar sentiment and make it known that the rise in threats against officers will no longer be tolerated. While speaking to reporters U.S. attorney Andrew Lelling said, “the agents and officers out there enforcing federal laws are doing their job, plain and simple. Those who disagree with their mission are of course free to say so. But there is a difference between public debate and intentionally putting others in fear of their lives.”
The 33 year old from Massachusetts has found himself charged with using interstate and foreign commerce to transmit a threat to injure another person. Ziobrowski was arrested in New York where he was visiting a friend. He is expected to have an appearance in court in New York, Thursday, before he is extradited back to Massachusetts. At the time of this writing it remains unknown whether or not any lawyers have taken Brandon Ziobrowski on as a client. During my research through public directories I was unable to find a number for him so that I could try to talk to him personally and get a statement.
According to authorities last month Brandon Ziobrowski who has near 400 followers on Twitter, tweeted “I am broke but will scrounge and literally give $500 to anyone who kills an ICE agent.”
When someone made a tweet defending ICE officers and stating that these brave men and women place their lives on the line every day to make arrests Ziobrowski responded “Thank you ICE for putting your lives on the line and hopefully dying I guess so there’s less of you?”
ICE officers are not the only ones that have been a target of Brandon Ziobrowski’s rhetoric. Tweets that have come from Ziobrowski make it very clear that he is not a huge fan of Arizona Sen. John McCain. He is a strong believer that guns “should only be legal for shooting the police like the second amendment intended.”
Documents released by the court show that Twitter suspended the account of Brandon Ziobrowski when they learnt that he had posted a threat against ICE agents and was trying to hire a hitman.
Special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, Peter Fitzhugh said, “people who try to politicize our mission are within the legal right to freedom of speech, but when freedom of speech crosses a line into threats or offers to have federal law enforcement officers killed, we will never tolerate that.”
If he is successfully convicted of his crimes Brandon Ziobrowski faces up to five years in prison if convicted, in addition to three years supervised release and a $250,000 fine.