ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A St. Louis man is charged with making terrorist threats against police officers through social media.
Throughout the month of December, Jason Valentine, 35 posted nearly a dozen tweets, talking about killing police on New Year`S Eve, and blowing up the St. Louis Justice Center. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says what this man wrote on social media goes well beyond free speech. Beginning on December 3rd he began using the twitter handle @JDSTL314 to make serious threats against St. Louis Police. His Twitter account has since been disabled, but these screen grabs of his tweets show a scary and consistent message.
He is accused of posting Tweets using the phrases, "Kill a pig night 12/31/2014" - Pick a side or die with them - and New Years Eve massacre. The tweets were accompanied with the hashtags #Ferguson, #Vonderritmeyers and #NoJusticeNoHolidays.
"It was a big deal for us. We took this very seriously." said Chief Sam Dotson.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says these threats were especially scary in light of the recent anger and violence towards police and murder of the two officers in New York. "What we`ve seen with the unrest that`s been going on, now you`ve got social media, which is saying, hey, let`s have a midnight massacre, let`s kill police officers, let`s blow up the justice center, that`s gone too far."
After receiving word of these threats, investigators quickly traced the tweets back to Valentine, through subpoenas and IP addresses. The St. Louis resident was taken into custody two days ago, and is now charged with 10 counts of making a terrorist threat.
"These aren`t about people`s first amendment rights. You can have an opinion about a football team, or about your favorite restaurant or fashion. You can have an opinion about a lot of things, but you can`t make threats towards individuals that cause them to be fearful or frightened. That`s where the line is crossed." said Chief Sam Dotson.
It appears that Valentine also made threats toward other Twitter users for sharing his threatening tweets with the FBI. Those are still being investigated.
"Whether it`s more local charges, at the state, or more charges on the federal level with the FBI, this investigation`s not over yet." said Chief Sam Dotson.
Even though Valentine was taken into custody two days ago, police still stepped up security last night. At this point, police believe he was acting alone in these threats. They`re not saying how far Valentine went in preparing to carry out his deadly mission.