New York City authorities chose to keep public schools open Tuesday after receiving a bomb threat nearly identical to the one that led Los Angeles to close down schools there.
Calling the emailed threat a “hoax,” NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Los Angeles’ decision appeared to be unnecessary.
“I think it was a significant overreaction,” said Bratton, who was chief of the Los Angeles Police Department between 2002 and 2009 before returning to New York to head the NYPD.
Bratton said his investigators believe it’s a hoax for several reasons, such as the first letter of “Allah” being uncapitalized.
“That would be incredible to think that any jihadist would not spell Allah with a capital A,” Bratton said.
The Los Angeles schools — the second-largest district in the nation after New York City’s — announced a systemwide closure Tuesday after receiving what was termed “a credible threat.”
“It is not credible,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said. He added: “Our school system remains fully open.”
The LAPD chief, Charlie Beck, said he supported the decision to close the schools.
“It is very easy in hindsight to criticize a decision based on results that the decider could never have known,” Beck said. “It’s also very easy to criticize a decision when you have no responsibility for the outcome of that decision.”
De Blasio said NYPD intelligence analysts scrutinized the email: “This was a very generic piece of writing,” he said, and the threatened violence “is not plausible.”
“It’s very important not to overreact in situations like this,” de Blasio said.
Bratton said the email appears to have come from overseas and was received by a superintendent of the city schools. He wouldn’t give more details about what the email said or who received it.
The messages received in both cities appear to have come from the same Internet-protocol address, NBC News reported.