Loren Reed has been incarcerated for nearly a year after allegedly making comments on his private social media pages in which he expressed his support of the Black Lives Matter protests. Reed, a 27-year-old indigenous man from Page, Arizona, was arrested and accused of conspiring to burn down both the town’s magistrate court and its police station.
The authorities took interest in Reed when a “Concerned Citizen” alerted them to a post he made on his Facebook requesting that his followers “React to my status if you didn’t get my invite to the Page riot happening tomorrow.”
A commenter then asked that he not “torch the bars”, at which point Reed said “nah. Just the courthouse.”
An undercover PPD officer then infiltrated a private Facebook group in which Reed was present. There, Reed made multiple references to his desire to “riot” and “loot”.
Reed’s charges included using the internet and telephone to willfully threaten unlawful damage or destruction of a building by fire. And he has remained in pretrial detention since June 2.
Despite Reed’s antagonistic comments, he demonstrated no actual intent to cause harm to any individual or public building. There is no publicly available document indicating that Reed was even in possession of fuel or any other materials necessary to initiate arson.
Though hoax threats are a crime, Reed’s commentary was directed to a private group and therefore had no cause to alarm the public.