A black student from the University of Illinois at Chicago who was arrested Monday for threatening to murder 16 white students at the University of Chicago can return to school, a Chicago judge ruled.
21-year-old first-year engineering student Jabari Dean threatened via social media of a mass shooting of “white male students and or staff” to avenge the death of a black teenager last year at the hands of a Chicago police officer. He also encouraged others to join him and do their part to “rid the world of white devils.” In response, the University of Chicago canceled classes and Dean was arrested, only to be released from jail Tuesday by a federal judge.
After appearing in court Monday afternoon, Dean admitted to FBI agents that he had posted the threat Saturday but took it down shortly after posting it. Someone had allegedly notified the FBI of the threat Sunday but after the FBI was unable to find the threat online, the person provided a screenshot of it.
This is my only warning. At 10 a.m. on Monday mourning (sic) I am going to the campus quad of the University of Chicago. I will be armed with a M-4 Carbine and 2 Desert Eagles all fully loaded. I will execute aproximately (sic) 16 white male students and or staff, which is the same number of time (sic) Mcdonald (sic) was killed. I then will die killing any number of white policemen that I can in the process. This is not a joke. I am to do my part to rid the world of the white devils. I expect you to do the same . . .
The threat was posted days after a video was released to the public of white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. Protests erupted in the streets of Chicago and Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder.
The Sun Times said that Jabari’s comment was posted using the online profile name “JRD,” using the Chicago Bulls logo as its profile picture.
The judge’s response?
U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox told Dean’s mother that he will be released to her custody and will be allowed to attend classes on condition that he stays off the internet.
Dean’s mother expressed concern over her son’s future job prospects because of the arrest. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tobara Richardson said that Dean did not have the means to pull off the shooting, which would consist of three guns he did not own, and thus posed no threat to other students. Dean’s uncle Phillip Rutherford told reporters that his nephew was just a “stupid kid” with nothing else to do, adding that it was “just fun and games.”
“Stupid. Silly ignorant. Goofy. Everybody is upset. The whole family is upset,” Rutherford told Fox 32 News.
“This is not a joke. I am to do my part to rid the world of the white devils.”
Classes were resumed Tuesday after what university president Robert J. Zimmer called a “challenging day.”
“I want to express my great admiration for and appreciation of members of our community — including faculty, students, staff, and friends — for their mutually supportive and thoughtful approach in what has been a challenging day,” Zimmer wrote in a statement.
The university classes shutdown allegedly affected over 30,000 people, though the University of Chicago Medical Center continued to admit patients.
This article has been corrected to specify that Jabari Dean attends the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he is a first-year undergraduate in electrical engineering.