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$1 million bail set for Fort Myers man allegedly threatening to kill minorities

Posted at 10:48 PM, Jun 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-17 08:21:34-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Brenda Kjellander sat on her front porch in Page Park Saturday afternoon and said a prayer for her friends’ safety. She said it’s in response to her neighbor Joshua Leff’s alleged violent threats on social media. Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Leff at his home Friday night.

According to the report from FDLE, Leff’s “…writings praised mass shooters and said he wished they had killed more people.”

FDLE said Leff posted threats on social media sites Bitchute and Gab. They said he also encouraged his followers to start a race war.

Kjellander said even though he’s behind bars, she doesn’t feel safe.

“He may have somebody else out there, you don’t know! He might have somebody else out there doing something trying to plan something!” she said.

Dr. David Thomas, a professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, said it’s a thin line between exercising freedom of speech and putting people in danger. He said according to the report, Leff crossed it.

“He posed a threat. He put out that information that said this is what I want to do. When that happens, it’s beyond just I’m using freedom of speech and I hate people of color,” he said.

Thomas said social media makes threats like this even more dangerous because of it’s reach.

“The internet has provided them with a medium to be able to get their message out to hundreds of thousands of people,” he said.

Leff’s bond was set for one million dollars for the violent threats. Thomas said that’s surprisingly high, but shows just how serious a crime like this is.

“The judge looked at this and took it very seriously. And looked at how that is impacting people in our society, and how divisive this society has gotten. He’s sending a message,” said Thomas.

Leff is a convicted felon and was also charged with having several guns in his home. His trial is set to begin July 15th.