FBI, prosecutor investigate threat against Brick mayor

A reported threat targeting Mayor John Ducey is under investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and the FBI. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS/THE OCEAN STAR]

BRICK TOWNSHIP — In the wake of a Twitter storm alleging anti-Semitism by Brick Township Mayor John Ducey, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] have announced an investigation into a threat made against the mayor on the social media platform.

According to a statement released by Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, local authorities are investigating “a threat against Brick Township Mayor John Ducey made via the social media platform Twitter on Thursday April 25, 2019.”

“This is an ongoing investigation,” Mr. Billhimer said in the release.

The mayor found himself at the center of a tweet storm April 23 after a tweet from an account that has since been deleted tweeted at him, “Can we please do something about our parks and beaches. They are being invaded by hasidic and orthodox jews and being ruined. Our tax paying residents are being forced out while politicians sit and do nothing.”

The mayor responded, tweeting back, “Our parks security has started already. Just call police with any problems and they will send them out.”

Mayor Ducey defended his response in an email to The Ocean Star this week, saying the exchange was a misunderstanding and he would reassess how he responds to comments on social media.

“A resident tweeted me a question about our parks that was definitely anti-Semitic. Rather than address his bigotry I instead gave him the proper protocol on what to do if he saw a problem at one of our parks, which is to call the police to send park security out. No call occurred because apparently there was no real problem taking place. The conversation then turned against me … 
“It pretty much comes down to the word “them” as my tweet said call the police and they will send them out. “Them”meant park security but people have run with this that “them” meant the actual people being complained about. 
“Some have said I should have called him out on the anti-Semitism, which I consciously chose not to do as it would have inflamed the situation and continued the target to be on the victims of the bigotry.” 
The mayor has since said he will re-evaluate his social media policy.

For more on this story, read next week's edition of The Ocean Star—on newsstands Friday or online in our e-Edition.