PHOENIX — An Arizona man’s threats against the LGBTQIA+ community are now prompting a Phoenix police investigation.
Ethan Schmidt Crockett of Phoenix in the past boasted about crashing political rallies and church services. He pleaded guilty to criminal trespassing in December.
Now Crockett is making online threats against supporters of the LGBTQIA+ community and the company Target.
“This June me and my boy Kyle we’re going to be exposing Target…. We’re going to be exposing every single satanic pride shrine for children,” Crockett said in a video posted online. “All the employees that support it, we’re going to be exposing… We’re going to make massive scenes…this is going to be next level stuff so… We’re going to go on hunting expeditions soon. Hunting LBGT supporters across Arizona soon.”
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office told 12 News they are aware of the video.
“Acts of hate or threats of violence will not be tolerated in our community,” said spokesperson Karla Navarette.
The Phoenix Police Department confirmed an investigation into Schmidt is underway.
Attorney Benjamin Taylor said whether someone is charged under Arizona’s threats and intimidation law depends on how specific the threat is and whether there is a specific alleged victim.
“You have to have a victim. If a person says random words it's freedom of speech,” Taylor said. “Usually it’s in the eyes of the victim. How the victim felt. If they felt they were the ones being threatened or intimidated.”
On Thursday a spokesperson for Target told 12 News they are cooperating with “multiple federal agencies” about the threat.
The cases also raise questions about whether police treat all threats equally. High school students have been charged before for making general threats against their school, even if they did not single out a specific person.
On Wednesday, an 18-year-old was charged with a felony for making a threat against Mingus High School in Cottonwood. There’s no information available suggesting that the student had the means to carry out the threat.
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