Florida man used social media to encourage a race war, threaten groups. His bond: $1M

Joshua John Leff’s booking photo on June 14, 2019.
Joshua John Leff’s booking photo on June 14, 2019. Lee County Sheriff's Office

A Florida man’s social media posts that threatened violence against African-Americans, Jews and homosexuals and that urged his followers to start a race war netted him a $1 million bond.

And then there’s another $100,000 bond he would have to pay to get out of Lee County Jail because of a weapons charge.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents received a tip that Joshua John Leff, 40, of Fort Myers, was posting statements and videos that were meant to incite violence against several minority groups on social media sites like Bitchute and Gab.

Leff, agents said, “espoused hatred toward several minority groups, threatened violence against those who disagreed with him and encouraged followers to start a race war.”

NBC2 quoted from one of Leff’s posts: “America has done wrong not sending black people back to Africa and opening the door to multiculturalism and inclusiveness.”

When deputies searched Leff’s home on Friday they found two guns, two .380 magazines and ammunition and handgun holsters.

“Videos showed Leff, a convicted felon, with multiple weapons and his writings praised mass shooters and said he wished they had killed more people,” FDLE said on Facebook.

Among the mass shooters he praised: Dylann Roof, who was charged with slaying nine black parishioners inside a Charleston church in June 2015; John T. Earnest, the 19-year-old gunman accused of killing one and injuring three inside a California synagogue in April; and Brenton Tarrant, the New Zealand mosque shooter accused of killing 50 people in April.

Leff was arrested at his home and charged with intimidation by sending written threats to kill and possession of a weapon and ammo by a convicted felon. He was booked into Lee County Jail.

Miami Herald Real Time/Breaking News reporter Howard Cohen, a 2017 Media Excellence Awards winner, has covered pop music, theater, health and fitness, obituaries, municipal government and general assignment. He started his career in the Features department at the Miami Herald in 1991.
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