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Prosecutor warns white supremacists while announcing charges over anti-Semitic threats

By
Darryl Coote
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman told advocates of white supremacy that while they have the right to free speech, they don't have the right to force people to listen to them. Photo courtesy of United States Department of Justice/Website
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman told advocates of white supremacy that while they have the right to free speech, they don't have the right to force people to listen to them. Photo courtesy of United States Department of Justice/Website

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A federal prosecutor in Ohio Thursday announced charges against a self-described white nationalist who threatened violence against a Jewish community center while sending a stern warning to those who threaten racial violence.

Justin Herdman, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced that James Reardon, 20, has been charged with one count of transmitting threatening communications via interstate commerce for allegedly threatening on Instagram to shoot up a Youngstown Jewish community center.

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Reardon was arrested Aug. 17 after his social media account was brought to the attention of police as it was filled with anti-Semitic content including a post of a video capturing a man firing a gun with the caption, "Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O'Reardon." Seamus is part of Reardon's online pseudonym, I-R-A Seamus.

During the press conference Thursday, Herdman said he wanted to speak directly to advocates of white supremacy, telling them that while they have to right to promote their "failed ideologies," no one has to listen.

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"Go ahead and make your case of nazism, a white nation and racial superiority," he said. "The Constitution may give you a voice, but it doesn't guarantee you a receptive audience."

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He said their right to free speech also gives them the right to be on the "losing end of this argument."

"What you don't have, though, is the right to take our your frustration at failure in the political arena by resorting to violence," he said. "You don't have any right to threaten the lives and well-being of our neighbors. They have an absolute God-given and inalienable right to live peacefully, to worship as they please, to be free from fear that they might become a target simply because of the color of their skin, the country of their birth or the form of their prayer."

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The violence and the threats of violence recently committed in the name of a "nonsense racial theory" don't make them "soldiers," it makes them criminals, he said.

"Law enforcement doesn't go to war with cowards who break the law, we arrest them and send them to prison," he said.

The case of Reardon and many others were tipped off to police by the public who are together committed against violence, he said.

"When you wake up tomorrow morning, no matter what time, I want you to remember something: You can't set your alarm clock early enough to beat us out of bed," he said. "The men and women of law enforcement don't wake up. We never went to sleep. We are always awake. And arm in arm with the public, when your hatred leads you to break the law, we will do everything we can to be there to stop you."

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