A St. Louis area man who allegedly threatened to kill police on Twitter was arrested and has been charged with several counts of felony terrorism. The man, 35-year-old Jason Valentine, made at least ten separate comments on his Twitter account that included blowing something up at a downtown city jail and encouragement to kill police.
As reported by Vice News, prosecutors have said that Valentine, 35, made a total of 10 threats on Twitter in December. They also said that the intention was to frighten people, and he made a reference to a “kill a pig night” on New Year’s Eve.
After two police officers were executed at point-blank range in New York City in December, authorities nationwide have been on high alert over any stated threats toward police.
If convicted, Valentine could face up to seven years in a Missouri prison for his Twitter rants, which allegedly included a message that said, “St. Louis City Justice Center Mysteriously Exploded on 12/31/2014,” which police took as a threat to set off an explosion.
Valentine also allegedly tweeted a threat to Jeff Roorda, who manages the St. Louis Police Officers Association and is a known supporter of Darren Wilson. Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on August 9, sparking outrage in St. Louis and across the country.
A number of tweets from Valentine included various threatening phrases directed toward police officers. The alleged tweets over “kill a pig night” was a concern for officers nationally as it was trending on Twitter at one point. Many of his allegedly threatening tweets also included key hashtags associated with people protesting police brutality, including #Ferguson, #Shaw, #NoJusticeNoChristmas, and #VonderittMyers.
Nine of the ten messages that Valentine sent out on Twitter included the Ferguson hashtag, one of the most popular hashtags of 2014. The #VonderittMyers hashtag, which he used in every message, refers to 18-year-old Vonderitt Myers, also from St. Louis, who was shot dead by an off-duty police officer a couple of months after Wilson shot Brown. The officer later said that Myers fired on him first.
The shootings of both Brown and Myers set off months of regional and national protests, some of which turned violent. In St. Louis, dozens of buildings were vandalized and looted, while some were set on fire.
According to the probable cause statement relating to the current charges, the Twitter arrest is not the first time that St. Louis-based Jason Valentine has encountered the law. In 2012, he was convicted of aggravated stalking and violating an order of protection.
[Photo via St. Louis Police Department]