A Glen Cove man used Facebook to send two threatening messages to the policeman who impounded his car, daring him to meet so he could be served "Hawaiian punch," Glen Cove police said Thursday.
In one message Julian Velasquez, 19, sarcastically praised the officer, saying he didn't spot the marijuana in the car during the traffic stop, and in another he boasted it'd be "game over" if they met, said Det. Lt. John Nagle.
"Not only do you post a threat," said Nagle, "you say you missed the drugs."
Velasquez was arrested Wednesday on two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment and one count of second-degree menacing. After arraignment he was jailed Thursday on a $3,000 cash bail. An order of protection was issued against him to keep away from the officer, police said.
Nagel said it's the department's first arrest on charges of harassment through social media. The Nassau district attorney's office had to be consulted to see if the Facebook messages constituted aggravated harassment, he said.
"We get attacked all the time on social media," Nagle said of police. "When it's targeted at you in your in-box, that's another thing."
Velasquez's family could not be reached for comment.
The officer had pulled Velasquez over Jan. 19 and impounded his car because he did not have insurance, police said.
Later, the teenager researched the officer, getting his age, the school he attended and the fact that he also lives in Glen Cove, Nagle said.
On Facebook, where the officer used his real name, Velasquez shot a warning Jan. 21, telling the officer to stay away from Glen Cove, police said.
"Your uniform and your gun won't protect you," Nagle said the message read.
Two days later, Velasquez asked why the officer hadn't responded, boasting that he won't need to "call for backup" in a fight, police said.
The officer didn't see the threats until Tuesday, police said. Nagle said the officer, an eight-year veteran, has since changed his Facebook name.
How much personal data police officers put out in social media might be up for discussion in the department, Nagle said. The Internet and social media evolve quickly, he said, and "so does criminal justice."