While people all over the world are declaring "je suis Charlie" in solidarity with the French magazine that was attacked by terrorists, the Chicopee Police Department has moved forward with its own attack against another Charlie's freedom of expression.
Charles "Charlie" Dirosa, the man who was accused by the Chicopee police of making a threat after he wrote "Put Wings On Pigs" on Facebook, has agreed to perform community service if the complaint against him is dismissed. Dirosa's Facebook post was likely a reference to a similar Instagram post by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who went on a shooting spree last month that included his girlfriend and two New York City police officers before committing suicide.
According to The Republican:
A 27-year-old city man, who allegedly posted "Put Wings on pigs" on his Facebook page following last month's slayings of two New York City police officers, has agreed to perform community service.
That was the outcome of Charles DiRosa's show-cause hearing Monday in District Court, Michael Wilk, public information officer for the police department, said.
"Mr. DiRosa came to an agreement with the clerk-magistrate to do community service hours to be completed before March 16," Wilk said.
Once the community service is done, the complaint will be dismissed, Wilk said.
While Dirosa's post angered many people, it's almost certain that he would not have been convicted of a crime if he had chosen to fight the charge.
Russell Matson, a criminal defense attorney who sometimes contributes to The Bay State Examiner, explained that Dirosa’s Facebook post was “so vague” that it does not qualify as a threat. In order to constitute a genuine threat, Matson said, a statement must be directed toward a specific person, must indicate intent to carry out the threat, and the victim must have a reasonable belief that the person has the ability to carry out the threat. Matson said that Dirosa's post was protected by the First Amendment.
Even though he didn't do anything illegal, it's understandable that Dirosa would be eager to put this incident behind him by agreeing to these terms. After all, the Chicopee police's allegation against Dirosa thrust him into the national spotlight and possibly even made him a target for violent retaliation by police.
Over in East Windsor, Connecticut, former police officer Doug Humphrey called on his "law enforcement friends" to "kill [Charles Dirosa] dead" in a Facebook post. The East Windsor Police Department issued a press release saying they were investigating their former employee's comment after we brought it to their attention, but have been mum about the investigation ever since.