L.A. Defends Decision to Close Public Schools over Threat of Violence

By Cheri Cheng - 16 Dec '15 12:57PM

Los Angeles officials are defending their decision to close down more than 900 schools on Tuesday after it received an email threat of violence, which investigators have determined was a hoax.

"It's very easy to second-guess decision-makers when you don't have to live with the consequences of the decision," Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said reported by the LA Times. "These decisions are not something you get to do over again if you turn out to be wrong."

Beck added, "Southern California has been through a lot in recent weeks."

Early Tuesday morning, the public school systems in Los Angeles and New York received very similar threats via email claiming that explosives and Jihadist gunmen will attack several schools and massacre students. Both cities initially responded in the same way and called the police as well as the FBI.

The authorities in New York concluded that the threat was not real and school commenced as usual. In Los Angeles, however, police conducted searches at numerous campuses, a move that was criticized by the New York Police Department.

NYPD commissioner, William J. Bratton, who used to head LAPD and had worked with Beck, called Los Angeles' response "a significant overreaction."

He added, "We cannot allow ourselves to raise levels of fear. This is not a credible threat and not one that requires any action."

According to the New York Times, the threats to both cities were routed from a server in Frankfurt, Germany. The threats were overall the same with the exception of the school systems' names and the number of attackers. New York officials decided that errors in the wording of the email among other factors were too inconsistent for the threat to be real. The deputy commissioner of the NYPD, Stephen Davis, revealed that the content did not "add up."

One example he provided was that "Allah" was written in the email several times but at one point, the writer used a lower case "a." If the writer were indeed a devout Muslim, a mistake like this would not occur.

The authorities in California noted that although certain parts of the threat was questionable, they were more concerned about the fact that the writer seemed to know the structure of the Los Angeles Unified School District very well.

"Just because parts of the email are false doesn't mean it's all false," Democratic Representative, Brad Sherman, stated.

School has resumed in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

The cities were unaware that they both received similar threats at around the same time.

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