12 gang members in Brooklyn were arrested for allegedly using social media to taunt rival gangs and to strategize about murders of other criminals.
According to officials, the gang members used Facebook, YouTube and a variety of expressive emojis to post violent threats on Facebook and upload videos of themselves on rival turf.
One of the suspects, Yasin Shearin, who was charged with conspiracy, was accused in an earlier case of making terroristic threats against cops with a Facebook post that read: “Let’s kill the cops.”
His message included emojis of a gun and police. Shearin posted that rant hours after Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjin Liu were shot execution style by Ismaaiyl Abdulla Brinsley on Dec. 20, 2014.
Authorities said Shearin is a member of the TMO gang (True Bosses Only) that was entrenched in a bitter war with several rival crews, including Elm Street Piru, Loot Gang and 900 gang.
He was one of dozen alleged gang members indicted for conspiracy for allegedly using social media as part of a criminal operation.
Members of the True Bosses Only (TBO) street gang, ages 17 to 26, had been feuding since July 2015 with three other violent crews: Elm Street Piru, Loot Gang and 900 Gang. The TBO gang allegedly agreed to murder and assault their rivals to gain territory in various parts of Bushwick.
“This indictment describes a terrifying mix of deadly force and mindless obsessions with turf, leading to serious consequences for innocent bystanders,” said Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
TBO members are accused of using social media to direct their acts of violence toward rival gang members, as well as take credit after crimes occurred. They were behind 10 shootings that left seven people injured and three of the incidents were caught on video surveillance, prosecutors said. Among the victims were innocent bystanders, including a woman who was on a city bus when a bullet whizzed by her head on Oct. 30, 2015.
“By the grace of God she is still alive and was only cut by glass,” said Gonzalez who announced at a press conference on Thursday an initiative to combat crime in public housing complexes.
Shearin has a pending lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court claiming his First Amendment rights were violated.