CHICAGO (CBS) — An 18-year-old Lansing man will have to pay just $500 to bond out of jail after police said he made social media threats to several Chicago public schools.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports from police headquarters to explain that the suspect was charged with a misdemeanor in this case.READ MORE: 'Survivor 41' Episode 6: The Merge Part 1
That surprised many parents and students who thought the penalty for threatening violence against schools should be much stiffer.
Emerald-Jane Hunter showed us the posts her daughter came across on Instagram earlier this week.
“I freaked out. Because Simeon just happened,” Hunter said.
Threatening gun violence against at least four CPS high schools, including Simeon High School, where two students were killed in separate shootings just hours apart on Tuesday. Hunter said she immediately reported them to the Chicago Police Department.
“A lot of the gang violence and shootings sometimes stem from social media,” said Hunter. “Who’s monitoring the violent conversations and the threats that are being made? How did this not get flagged by somebody at Instagram?”
On Thursday, police said they became aware of threats that started with an old social media post from another state that prosecutors said 18-year-old Jordan Hassell of Lansing reposted.
Police said Hassell then started making other threats of gun violence naming specific schools. Authorities wouldn’t confirm that the Instagram posts Hunter reported and Hassell’s posts were one in the same.
But Hassell was charged with electronic harassment, which is a misdemeanor. Police said he was already on electronic monitoring for making similar threats in the past.
“This does not warrant life in jail, no, but it cannot be a misdemeanor,” Hunter said.
CBS 2 legal Analyst Irv Miller said that there are seven aggravating circumstances that could enhance it to a felony, but it’s unclear if any of those would have applied in this case.
“In this particular case, the legislature said ‘hey were going to make it a crime but we’re only going to make it a misdemeanor,'” Miller said. “So really law enforcement their hands are tied because that’s what the law says is the potential charge.
CBS 2 reached out to Instagram to when the social media company was made aware of the threats that Hunter found. At last check Friday afternoon, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office said that Hassell had not yet bonded out of the Cook County Jail.
There will be no fans in the stands when Simeon’s team takes to the football field Friday night. CPS released a statement citing safety concerns. From the CPS Office of Sports Administration.MORE NEWS: Chicago Police Alert Residents Of Carjackings In Englewood
In light of recent developments this week in Chicago, the decision has been made by Simeon and Phillips high schools and the Chicago Public League to play Saturday’s boys varsity football game at Gately Stadium with no fans permitted in the stands. This decision was made for the safety and well being of our fans and the neighboring community and is non-Covid-19 related.