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Social Media Threats Popping Up Following Police-involved Shootings

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We’re sure you’ve by now seen photos of the flyer that’s been circulating through Instagram and Facebook warning of a protest or riot in downtown Shreveport today in response to police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge and Minnesota. However, police say they haven’t been able to confirm the threat.

“When you’re dealing with social media, you’re dealing with people who hide behind profiles,” said Shreveport Police Corporal Marcus Hines. “It’s so easy for someone to put something out on the internet to scare people at a time where there’s people are on edge, and you have to be responsible for your response to that.”

Hines said police will look into any threats, and take measures to ensure whether there’s any credibility to them. But he said police don’t want people to feel that just because something shows up on Facebook, the department will change how it does business here.

“We’re going to continue to stay vigilant, like we always have, when it comes to serving and protecting the city and the citizens of Shreveport,” he said.

Police departments as far away as New York are on high alert in light of the Dallas shooting that left five police officers dead and several others wounded.

“We live in a world where evil is real, but good is also real,” Hines said. “This is a chosen profession for many people who serve as police officers and other first responders, and we’re not going to give in, we’re not going to stop doing those things that we are sworn to do. We’re going to continue to press the fight, and we appreciate the support that we’ve been given here locally.”

This is a time when it seems there’s a full-on war against law enforcement. And because the officers in the Baton Rouge and Minnesota incidents were white, those officers are becoming the main targets. But Hines said that’s just a narrative that’s been playing out on social media.

“Law enforcement is a profession that’s always going to be heavily-scrutinized, and we understand that,” Corporal Hines said. “But what we have to do, and what we must continue to do, is try to treat everyone fairly, regardless of your race or any of those factors.”

He also said there are officers of every race and background on the Shreveport department who get along and work well together, and there are also citizens of every race and ethnic background who support law enforcement.

Here’s what things looked like near the Caddo Courthouse in downtown Shreveport this afternoon:

courthouse
Photo: Erin Bristol/TSM

STATE POLICE MONITORING SOCIAL MEDIA FOR POTENTIAL THREATS

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