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Charlottesville police arrest 1 in threat against minority students

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March 22 (UPI) — Authorities said Friday they arrested a 17-year-old boy for allegedly making online threats against minority students at Charlottesville High School in Virginia.

School officials had closed all public schools in the city for two days while law enforcement investigated the threats. The teenager, who was not named, now faces a felony charge of threats to commit serious bodily harm to persons on school property and a misdemeanor charge of harassment by computer.

Another teenager was arrested Friday by Albemarle County law enforcement near Charlottesville in connection with a threat at a school in that county.

“At this time, the Albemarle County Police Department is investigating this as an isolated incident, with no connection to the social media threats directed towards Charlottesville High School from earlier this week,” the department said.

On Wednesday, an online post from a person claiming to be a Charlottesville student suggested an attack on African Americans, The Daily Progress newspaper reported. The post, on the social discussion website Reddit, threatened an ethnic cleansing in the form of a school shooting and directed white students at Charlottesville High School to stay home.

A second threat appeared Thursday on social media referencing Albemarle High School, located just outside the Charlottesville city limits. Albemarle County superintendent Matt Haas said he increased the police presence at all of the county schools Friday.

Haas told the Progress that no evidence has emerged linking the two posts.

Charlottesville is where violence erupted during the so-called “United the Right” rally attracting white nationalists protesting the removal of Confederate statues in 2017. The incident left one counter-protester dead when she was hit with numerous others by a vehicle driven by a rally attendee.

“I think we all have to keep in mind a threat against one student, no matter what the ethnicity, is a threat against all of our students and a threat against our teachers and our community,” Charlottesville schools superintendent Rosa Atkins said.

Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney said in a CBS 19 News report tracking down anonymous online threats can often be complicated and slow.

“[The website search] often requires you to get a search warrant to get into their website because they are protected,” Brackney said. “When you click on to these sites and you engage in the sites, you are afforded protections and privacies that even though law enforcement is involved.”

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