A Georgia man has been sentenced to time served, probation, and given an all-out 5-year social media ban after pleading guilty to making terroristic threats via his Tumblr blog.
20-year-old Caleb Jamaal Clemmons has spent the past 6 months in jail, having been unable to afford his $20,000 bond. He’ll be credited with that time and given 5 years probation, during which he’ll be banned from four counties and barred from posting to any form of social media – all because of one post he made on Tumblr this past February:
hello. my name is irenigg and i plan on shooting up georgia southern. pass this around to see the affect it has. to see if i get arrested.
Clemmons was a former student at the university. His “plan” worked, as he was arrested just a few hours after he made the post. University police credit an anonymous tipster who alerted them to the troubling Tumblr post via email. Police searched Clemmons’ residence and found no evidence to suggest that he was planning on actually harming anyone at the school.
But Clemmons languished in jail, unable to make bail. His story sparked a petition on change.org, where his supporters argued that it was just a joke made on a “literary/satire/activist blog,” and that Clemmons had absolutely no intention of shooting anybody.
“Caleb has stated multiple times throughout his Tumblr and Facebook that his blog was an experimental literary piece and an art project for a character named Ryan Lang he created. He went out of his way entertain his followers and friends with uncanny jokes as well as complex philosophical ideas. He has addressed this openly and personally upon receiving questioning of his posts,” read the petition.
“Caleb Clemmons is not a terrorist. Throughout this process, Caleb has been very honest, patience, and compliant; in spite of this, this sweet young man has been absolutely traumatized over this horrific ordeal. He’s located in an overcrowded, underfunded prison filled with racists. He was punched in the face and verbally and physically assaulted on multiple occasions over his skin pigmentation. He has been sent to solitary confinement due to the actions of others.”
Although Clemmons is now out of jail, he’ll have to complete mental health classes in order to suspend his time at a probation center. And of course, there’s that 5-year social media ban.
Clemmons isn’t the only young man to fake charges of making terroristic threats online. In May, a YouTube rapper was arrested and charged after posting “fuck a boston bombinb wait til u see the shit I do, I’ma be famous for rapping, and beat every murder charge that comes across me” on his Facebook page.
Although he claimed it was simply “rap braggadocio,” the teen was held for over a month without bail. The DA’s office finally dropped the charges back in June.