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Two teens arrested for 'encouraging a riot' in Jerome, police say

In addition to multiple obscenities directed at police, the post encouraged participants to bring weapons, "anything to make damage."

JEROME, Idaho — Two teenagers have been arrested after police say they posted on social media, calling for violent protests in downtown Jerome Monday night.

The Jerome Police Department said that it was notified Monday morning of the post being circulated on Snapchat.

In addition to multiple obscenities directed at police, the post encouraged participants to bring weapons including gas, tasers, baseball bats and pepper spray - "anything to make damage."

"With violence occurring throughout the country over the last several days, the post was taken very seriously and an investigation was launched into the post while also working with other law enforcement partners to prepare for a possible violent event," the department said in a statement.

According to investigators, a 17-year-old from Gooding County and a 16-year-old from Jerome were responsible for the posts. Both were arrested for conspiracy to commit an act of terrorism and attempting to start a riot.

"At this point, there is no reason to believe that the juveniles involved conspired with terrorist or other radical organizations," the department said.

As of 7 p.m. Monday, all was quiet in Jerome and there was no sign of pending unrest. Police said officers would remain vigilant and extra officers were patrolling the streets.

The department also released the following statement about the social post and the nationwide protests - and in some cases, riots - following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody last week:

"Several citizens called the police department today expressing concern over the post circulating throughout the region. We appreciate the concerns voiced by members of our community. The members of Jerome Police Department share the sorrow and outrage of our community and our nation over the death of George Floyd while in police custody and we support the right of people to engage in peaceful expression in such matters of deep concern.  However, we are also committed to the safety of our community and will continue to be on guard for those who would commit violent acts against our citizens or their property."

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