Threat to cop on a Periscope live broadcast lands teen probation

Jean-Michael Montenegro
Jean-Michael Montenegro Miami-Dade Corrections

A teenager won’t be going to jail for threatening a Miami-Dade cop on the live-streaming app Periscope.

Jean-Michael Montenegro, 19, on Monday accepted two years of probation for a charge of issuing a written threat. He must take anger-management classes. Montenegro won’t have a criminal conviction on his record.

“My client isn’t a criminal. He’s a good kid, that just said something regrettable in an online public forum,” said his attorney, Matthew Ladd. “He never meant any harm to anyone and the fact that the police waited over a week to even find him shows they didn’t take it seriously either.”

Periscope, an offshoot of the social-media app Twitter, allows users to broadcast live using their smart phones or tablets. Viewers can then chime in on a real-time chat that appears on the screen.

Miami-Dade police said that on April 8, 2016, a Miami-Dade police sergeant was being interviewed on a “department-sanctioned” broadcast from Goulds Park about recruiting future officers.

That’s when Montenegro — with the user name “jeanmon600” — entered the Periscope chat and wrote “I’ll kill u sergeant.”

Detectives eventually confronted Montenegro, who blurted out “I didn’t mean to threaten that guy!” when he was confronted, police said.

Crimes involving social media — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter among others — have increased as the programs have become ingrained in daily habits. Periscope, which is owned by Twitter, launched in March 2015. As its use has increased, so too have incidents involving the live-streaming app.

In one particularly troubling case, an Ohio teen girl got nine months in prison after using Periscope to live-stream her friend’s rape. The rapist himself got nine years in prison.