Protestor Faces Charges for Threats to Cops

     ST. LOUIS (CN) – Prosecutors charged a Ferguson protestor with 10 felony counts for allegedly threatening to kill police officers Thursday, among other online threats.
     Jason Valentine, 35, of St. Louis, faces 10 counts of making a terrorist threat, a Class C felony. Valentine is currently being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond. Each count carries a penalty of up to seven years in prison.
     St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office says Valentine posted at least nine threats to kill St. Louis police officers, and used the slang “pig” and “12” to describe police officers. Valentine also used the possibly gang-related abbreviation “211MOB” in some of Twitter posts, according to court documents.
     Authorities say Valentine made additional threats toward the lives of police, and threatened an explosion at the St. Louis Justice Center between Dec. 3 and Dec. 14.
     The posts were all made on Twitter under the handle @jdstl314, and Valentine admitted to being the only person to use that handle, according to Joyce’s complaint.
     Other Tweets included a reference to “Kill a pig night,” and made specific references to killing former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson and St. Louis Police Officers’ Association Business Manager Jeff Roorda. Other posts included threats toward black officers using the term “Uncle Tom.”
     Wilson’s fatal shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9 sparked international protests against police brutality. Roorda was extremely vocal in his criticism of the National Football League and the Rams after five St. Louis players gave the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” gesture before a game, which has become synonymous with anti-police demonstrations.
     In related news, almost 200 people participated in a pro-police rally outside of the St. Louis City police headquarters Thursday.
     Among the signs that were waved above the crowd: “God bless our police,” “Police lives matter,” “We back the badge” and “I support the police, not thugs,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
     Trish Dennison, a mother of police officers, organized the New Year’s Day rally through social media.
     “People have been out here promoting their causes, and so much of it has been negative,” Dennison told the Post-Dispatch. “Most of us staying at home support the police. But unless we get out here, how will they know it?”
     Last year had been one of the bloodiest in St. Louis City history. The 159 homicides in 2014 were the most since 2008, when the city, pop. 318,172, recorded 167.
     A particularly violent spring had the city’s murder rate at 47 percent above the previous year. After a slower spell, every month from July on saw more murders than the previous year.

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