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Man who threatened Ferguson officer to avoid prison, but judge orders him to stay off Facebook

03/19/2015 02:11 EDT | Updated 05/19/2015 05:59 EDT
SEATTLE - A judge says a Washington state man who posted threatening comments on Facebook against a former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer can avoid prison but must stay off from social media sites.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik on Thursday told Jaleel Abdul-Jabbaar that he'll be on supervised release for three years. Lasnik says the two months Abdul-Jabbaar already spent in jail were an adequate term behind bars.

Abdul-Jabbaar's case is part of a broader legal debate over the point at which social media rants go beyond hyperbole and become criminal acts.

The judge says the case was difficult. But he says he accepted the argument that Abdul-Jabbaar's comments were simply a strong reaction to events in Ferguson, and he didn't intend to follow through on a threat to shoot Darren Wilson.