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Friday, May 17, 2024

Davis Police Department responds to fifth bomb threat, police chief shares that threat included ‘anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric’

The most recent bomb threat targeting Davis schools and the public library leaves the city of Davis with a total of five bomb threats since August

 

By HANNAH SCHRADER city@theaggie.org

 

On Sept. 25, the Davis Police Department responded to the most recent in a series of bomb threats which have resulted in a delayed start for local schools. This marks the fifth bomb threat made following a controversial event held by Yolo County Moms for Liberty in late August. Police Chief Darren Pytel shared that the messaging of the threats contained anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric. 

The most recent threat was emailed to several California agencies and media outlets,” Pytel commented in a Facebook statement. “The message shared similar anti-LGBTQIA+ rhetoric against our schools and community as in the previous threats. It is clear that the sender is attempting to terrorize and disrupt this community to advance their particular hateful ideology, which in itself is outrageous and has no place in Davis or any other city.”

Pytel commented on the status of the ongoing overarching bomb threat investigation that has promoted in the involvement of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Yolo County authorities

“While we are continuing to work with our regional and federal partners to investigate these crimes, we have not been able to locate the person or persons responsible for the threats,” Pytel said. “The IP addresses on each of the emails have been traced, but so far, their origins are coming back to other countries, including Nigeria. Unfortunately, there is basic computer technology that enables email authors to disguise the correct location of where an email originates. In some cases, separate emails are sent to senders in other countries so the email does in fact originate in another country.”

Pytel stated that a “particular ideology” is associated with the threats and that the correlation between the Yolo County Moms For Liberty event and the threats can’t be overlooked. 

“The continuing threats originated shortly after a contentious event, hosted by Moms for Liberty, was held at the Yolo County Library,” Pytel said. “The event quickly made national news espousing a particular ideology that is related to the language in the threatening emails. Although there is currently no evidence pointing to any involvement between local members and the threats, the correlation between the two cannot be ignored as part of the overall criminal investigations.”

At the time of publication, Yolo County Moms for Liberty has not made a public statement regarding the fifth bomb threat. However, on Sept. 29, they forwarded the same press release that they made in response to the second and third threats.

“Violence is never the appropriate response,” the press release reads. “Any news reporting that would imply our organizations are in any way associated with or responsible for these threats is wrong and maliciously inaccurate.”

In the statement made by Davis PD, Pytel said that local social media posts have been shared to the Yolo County District Attorney to review for criminal charges.

“While the First Amendment protects certain types of speech, there is certainly speech involving criminal threats and bomb threats that are criminal in nature,” Pytel said. “Because of this, criminal cases have been forwarded to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office to review for criminal charging regarding some of the local social media postings affecting the community that may constitute criminal doxing (threats or harassing communication via communications including social media).”

Pytel closed the public statement by imploring Davis community members to resist against those attempting to threaten the Davis community.

“Lastly, we ask all community members to stand firmly against hate and to continue to denounce those who have placed Davis in harm’s way by placing their ideology on the national stage and bringing these threats to our community.”

On Sept. 25, Anoosh Jorjorian, director of Yolo Rainbow Families, responded to the threats in a Facebook video leading affirmations. The video was meant to keep spirits up and provide levity in response to the bomb threats, according to a Facebook post by the Davis Phoenix Coalition (DPC).

“Maybe you, like me, woke up to some pretty nasty LGBTQ language this morning,” Jorjorian said in the Facebook video. “So to counteract that toxicity, let’s do some affirmations. Ready? ‘My joy makes haters miserable. Every day that I look into the mirror and go ‘Damn, I look good,’ I give haters indigestion. My very existence and every day that I’m alive, haters can die mad about it.’” 

Written by: Hannah Schrader city@theaggie.org