Terror Threats Posted on Yik Yak
This particular case is a classic example of two very important things. First, the fact that things are rarely what they seem, and second, that terror threats, regardless of whether or not they were made in jest, are always taken seriously by law enforcement.
Emmanuel D. Bowden, a 21-year-old Michigan Technological University student living on the SVSU campus has been arrested for allegedly making terror threats against black students on Yik Yak. This particular social media platform allows users to make anonymous statements that can be viewed by other users within a certain radius.
Police say that Bowden made an anonymous threat on Yik Yak that he intended to “shoot every black person I can on campus.” This instantly brought out a fury of race-related accusations from people operating on the assumption that the person making the threats was caucasian.
However, as it turns out, Bowden is an African American. And he never intended to make good on his threat to begin with. His posts that followed the threat were as follows, “It’s a joke,” “I’m black”, “I was going to give it an hour to see how you all would react”, and “Right. I could be angry and just expressing myself lol.”
But joke or not, it was taken very seriously by law enforcement. The terror threats went viral and once the FBI was called in to investigate, it wasn’t long before Bowden was arrested. Police records show that he was arrested in the morning, inside a residence hall on SVSU’s campus, on an unrelated warrant. It wasn’t until after the arrest that officers were able to tie Bowden’s cell phone to the specific Yik Yak threat.
Although the details of the arrest warrant weren’t shared, jail records reveal that he is currently being held for the terror threat and for an unrelated credit-card related case from early October. The credit card case names him along with two other people, Javon A. Cooney and Omari J. Willis.
Bowden is facing a single count of making a false report or threat of terrorism, which is a felony under Michigan law and carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. With regards to the Yik Yak case, Bowden is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on December 3rd before Judge M. Randall Jurrens in Saginaw County’s 70th District Court.