Charge dismissed against Iowan over Facebook

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August 21st, 2012 by Ric Hanson

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — A terrorism charge filed against a Sioux City man over comments he made on his Facebook page has been dismissed. Woodbury County prosecutors say Gabriel Rodriguez wrote suicidal and homicidal-themed messages between Aug. 2 and Aug.9. According to court documents, Rodriguez asked if he needed to “shoot up a mall before people understood.”  Assistant County Attorney Terry Ganzel says there was insufficient evidence to meet the legal requirement of the crime in order to prosecute Rodriguez.

Ganzel says words that don’t constitute a true threat are protected under the First Amendment. He says there isn’t enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Rodriguez made “true” threats and, even if they were, that the act was “imminent.” Rodriguez’s attorney didn’t immediately comment.