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Ex-NFL player Jonathan Martin charged in connection with threats involving Harvard Westlake

Jonathan Martin
Former Miami Dolphins player Jonathan Martin has been charged with making criminal threats connected to a social media post on his Instagram account that referenced the team and his alma mater, Harvard-Westlake School.
(Wilfredo Lee / AP)

Former NFL player and Harvard-Westlake alumnus Jonathan Martin has been charged with making criminal threats in connection with an Instagram post that displayed a shotgun and referenced the school by name.

Los Angeles Police spokesman Josh Rubenstein confirmed that charges had been filed against Martin, 28, and a warrant issued for his arrest.

“However,” he said, “we are talking with his attorney.”

Rubenstein said he did not know details about the charges, but a law enforcement source who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were connected to last month’s social media post that named the school.

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Martin is expected to surrender to authorities on Tuesday, according to the source, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

Martin was charged March 13 with four felony counts of making criminal threats as well as a single misdemeanor count of carrying a loaded firearm in public, according to the source as well as online court records. The charges — first reported by TMZ — were filed weeks after a picture of a shotgun with the words “Harvard Westlake” written across the barrel triggered the school’s closure on Feb. 23.

The image, which referenced revenge and suicide as the only options for a victim of bullying, was posted to a verified Instagram account belonging to Martin, the former Miami Dolphins offensive lineman who accused teammates of bullying in 2013.

The picture was posted amid a series of threats that sparked police responses at Southern California schools in the days after a gunman killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

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Martin graduated from Harvard-Westlake in 2008 and joined the Dolphins in 2012. But during his second year in the NFL, he became the center of a scandal alleging harassment and bullying on the part of his teammates, including offensive linemen Richie Incognito and Mike Pouncey. Both players’ verified Instagram accounts were tagged in the post.

“When you’re a bully victim & a coward, your options are suicide, or revenge,” read the text of an Instagram story posted to Martin’s verified account.

Martin retired from the NFL in 2015 following a back injury, after stints with the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers. That same year, he detailed his struggles growing up in Los Angeles and said in a series of Facebook and Twitter posts that he had attempted suicide while playing in the NFL. He also said he had been uncomfortable at Harvard-Westlake as “one of just a handful of minorities” on the campus.

“You learn to tone down your size & blackness by becoming shy, introverted, friendly, so you won’t scare the little rich white kids or their parents,” he wrote in 2015. “Neither black nor white people accept you because they don’t understand you. It takes away from your self-confidence, your self-worth, your sanity.”

Times staff writers James Queally and Richard Winton contributed to this report.

ryan.menezes@latimes.com

kate.mather@latimes.com

For more Southern California news, follow us on Twitter: @ryanvmenezes and @katemather

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