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Aldon Smith arrested after alleged airport bomb comment

Aldon Smith was arrested on suspicion of making a false bomb threat at a West Coast airport on Sunday. The former University of Missouri football player is suspected of making a comment about having a bomb as he passed through airport security. The FBI is investigating the matter. Smith, who plays professional football with the 49ers, was selected for random screening at the airport.

A TSA official claims that Smith stated he had a bomb. Airport police later met with the football player in the terminal. Authorities say that Smith was placed under arrest after being uncooperative with law enforcement.

People in the United States are generally accustomed to being able to make comments in public. However, federal law prohibits making a bomb threat at an airport. A variety of criminal laws seek to impose limits on threatening speech.

In Missouri, for example, state law makes it a crime to make a terroristic threat. Communicating a false report of some kind of impending danger intending to cause fear in ten people or more, or with the intent to cause an evacuation of a building, are among the kinds of allegations that may lead to Missouri terroristic threat charges.

In the recent incident involving Smith, no formal charges have been filed.

Smith does have two open cases pending in criminal court. Authorities accuse the football player of weapons charges in the West Coast- - he has pleaded not guilty to the felony offenses. He is also facing drunk driving charges from allegations dating back to January 2012.

A person suspected of one, or several offenses, has the right to defend against the allegations. Each criminal defense investigation may begin before charges are formally filed. A person suspected of a crime may request to have an attorney present for any police interrogation as law enforcement pursues the probe.

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “49ers' Aldon Smith arrested for airport bomb threat,” Associated Press, April 14, 2014

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