CLEVELAND — On Thursday, federal authorities announced charges against a 20-year-old man who made threats against the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown earlier this month.
James Reardon, 20, of New Middletown, was charged with one count of making threats using a facility of interstate commerce. Earlier this month, he was arrested and held on charges of telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing.
U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman pointed out that this case is the result of a concerned citizen who took time to point out Reardon’s social media activity to a New Middletown police officer.
After announcing the charges from the indictment, U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman made it a point to address advocates of white supremacy and white nationalism.
"If you want to waste your blessings of liberty by going down a path of hatred and failed ideologies, that is your choice. Democracy allows lets you test those ideas in a public forum," Herdman said. "If you want to submit your beliefs to the American people and get their reaction, please be our guest. But keep this in mind, thousands and thousands of young Americans already voted with their lives to ensure this same message of intolerance, death and destruction would not prevail. You can count their ballots by visiting any American ceremony in North Africa, Italy, France or Belgium and tallying the white headstones.”
He reiterated those who break the law in the name of hatred will be held responsible, while also circling back to those in history who fought for their life just to have equal rights and stop hate.
"You can also recite the names of many civil rights activists who bled and died in opposing supporters of those same ideologies of hatred,” Herdman said. “Their voices may be distant, but they can still be heard. So go ahead and make your case for Nazism, a white nation, and racial superiority. The constitution may give you a voice, but it doesn’t guarantee you a receptive audience. Your right to free speech doesn’t automatically mean people will agree with you. In fact, you have a God-given and inalienable right to be on the losing end of this argument. What you don’t have, though, is the right to take out your frustrations in the political arena by resorting to violence. You don’t have the right to threaten the lives and well-being of our neighbors. They have a God-given, inalienable right to live peacefully and worship as they please. To be free of fear from that they may become a target simply because of the color of their skin, the country of their birth or the form of their prayer. "
Earlier this month, ammunition, semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask and anti-Semitic information were found at a house in New Middleton where Reardon lives with his mother, police said.
According to previous reporting, New Middletown police said the video posted on Reardon’s Instagram account last month included the sounds of sirens and screaming with the caption: “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon.” The post tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown.
The Youngstown Area Jewish Federation said it found out about the threat and alerted the police.