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Crime

Florida man arrested after calling for purge of gays, Jews, black people

Nick Duffy June 17, 2019
Joshua John Leff (Lee County Jail)

Joshua John Leff (Lee County Jail)

A man from Fort Myers, Florida, has been arrested for threats of violence against minority groups including gay people.

Police seized guns and ammunition from the house of Joshua John Leff, 40, while searching his house on Friday (June 14).

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leff had made posts on websites including alt-right social media platform Gab calling for a purge of gay people, Jewish people and black people.

Florida man praised mass shooters as ‘heroes’

In one post, he wrote: “America has done wrong not sending black people back to Africa and opening the door to multiculturalism and inclusiveness.”

Leff also praised far-right terrorists who carried out mass shootings as “heroes.”

He has been charged with intimidation, sending written threats to kill and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, and is currently in custody at Lee County Jail.

Florida police say the man made threats online: File photo of a police car
Florida police say the man made threats online (File photo of a police car)

A Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokesperson said: “FDLE began its investigation after receiving a tip that Leff, using an alias, was posting statements and videos inciting violence against minority groups on social media sites Bitchute and Gab.

“Leff espoused hatred toward several minority groups, threatened violence against those who disagreed with him and encouraged followers to start a race war.

“Videos showed Leff, a convicted felon, with multiple weapons and his writings praised mass shooters and said he wished they had killed more people.

“Agents served a search warrant at Leff’s residence earlier today and found guns, ammunition, handgun holsters and two .380 magazines.”

Joshua John Leff posted threats on alt-right platform Gab

Gab, which was launched in 2017, has become a hub for far-right activists who are banned from other platforms for hate speech.

Although the website’s co-founders claim it stands for “free speech,” the site has been slammed as a “safe haven” for neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

Robert Bowers, the suspect in a 2018 mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue, posted on the website before the attack.

At the time, Gab said in a statement: “We refuse to be defined by the media’s narratives about Gab and our community. Gab’s mission is very simple: to defend free expression and individual liberty online for all people.

“Social media often brings out the best and the worst of humanity.”

More: alt-right, Crime, far right, Florida, Gab, Law

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