Jeffrey Hanson was arraigned on Monday in New Haven Superior Court for allegedly posting threatening social media comments directed toward people attending this past weekend’s Puerto Rican festival.
Hanson, of Orange, is out on $50,000 bond and faces second degree charges of breach of peace. As a condition of his release, Hanson is forbidden from possessing any firearm or ammunition. He is also not allowed to post anything to social media.
Some in New Haven said this was too lenient.
“It’s an insult,” said John Lugo, organizer for Unidad Latina En Accion, New Haven. “I think they should increase the charges.”
Lugo, an advocate for New Haven’s Latino community sees this as a predisposed sign of hate.
“I’m sure he’s been thinking in his mind he hates the Latino community,” said Lugo. “I’m sure that he has been thinking terrible things, you know, from before and he’s just discussing it in social media right now.”
The Facebook comment Hanson’s accused of posting comes at an especially sensitive time, only days after the tragedies in El Paso and Dayton.
“I felt really upset about it because right now so many tragedies are happening,” said New Haven’s Cristal Castro, whose family is from Puerto Rico. “Nothing’s safe in public with these times today.”
While New Haven’s Latino community reacts to this threat, they are not alone. Many around the country are on high alert and this threat to New Haven hasn’t been taken lightly.
“In this day and age, everyone should know you can’t joke about stuff like that,” said Tracy Yentsch, of North Haven. “It’s not funny and anything like that is gonna be taken seriously.”
Hanson left the courtroom Monday morning with his lawyer, Doug Rudoph, and had no comment. His next appearance in court is scheduled for September 16.