Officials in Los Angeles were defending their actions after two major U.S. cities received terror threats and responded in different ways — with L.A. closing its schools while New York treated the threat as a hoax.
As we reported earlier today, the Los Angeles Unified School District closed its campuses and canceled school today at all district schools. The move came in response to what has been reported as an emailed bomb threat, described by officials as a “credible terror threat.”
Following the shutdown of L.A. schools, word surfaced that officials in New York had received a similar threat and were treating it as a hoax, with school going on as usual in the city.
“An email threat sent to several Los Angeles Unified School board members that prompted a closure of all Los Angeles Unified Schools mentioned explosive devices, assault rifles and pistols and was traced to an IP address in Frankfurt, Germany, according to law enforcement sources,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
The email sender reportedly identified himself as an “extremist Muslim.” The L.A. Times report quotes a law enforcement source saying there was no sign that “this individual is actually capable of carrying out the threat.”
In a news conference this morning in L.A., District Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines said the threat was made expressly “to students at schools,” and added: “It was not to one school, two schools or three schools — it was many schools, not specifically identified. I am not taking the chance of bringing children any place, into any part of the building, until I know it is safe.”
A bit of posturing was playing out between officials of L.A. and New York, particularly over comments by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton — who was previously the police chief with the LAPD.
“Hours after Los Angeles officials abruptly shut down their schools, Bratton revealed New York received the same anonymous email threat but investigators quickly determined that it was a hoax,” the New York Daily News reports. “Among the tip-offs: The ‘A’ in Allah wasn’t capitalized in the email promising an attack, an error no true jihadist would make, Bratton said.”
Bratton called the L.A. school closure a “significant overreaction,” the Daily News adds.
“In plain language, Bratton chided Los Angeles, where he was police chief from 2002 to 2009, for taking such a drastic response,” the story reports, quoting Bratton saying: “It’s what they (terrorists) want, whether it’s a prankster or a terrorist, they want to instill fear.”