SPD Investigating Social Media Threats Against Protesters
Protests have erupted across the United States in response to the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers. For the last week, protests have taken place from coast to coast, from Los Angeles to New York, and even in Shreveport.
Yesterday, on May 31st, citizens in Shreveport formed peaceful protests through the Downtown area. One of the moments from the protests, where a Shreveport Police Sgt. Daniel Denby hugs a young protester, has become a viral post nationally.
But social media posts in the Shreveport area are getting different attention. With the attention coming from a source the poster might not be excited about.
Dozens of posts were made around the Ark-La-Tex threatening violence against peaceful protesters. With some of the posts being graphically violent. Those posts have caught the attention of the Shreveport Police Department, and Police Chief Ben Raymond.
Today, Chief Raymond told KEEL News:
"...I would like to say just openly that I'm disappointed in social media posts on a broad scale. I'm disappointed and one in particular but I'm disappointed on a broad scale from many police officers some, some officials people that just really should keep opinions to themselves that can lead to controversy. We've got some some criminal investigations into some posters have been made over the weekend that I was made aware of, you know where there's threats of violence. Threats of violence toward protesters, threats of violence toward police officers. Social media has unfortunately made it easier for people to share their opinions with large masses, and that tends to cause chaos and controversy, and it can lead as well that's one of the things that can lead to civil unrest."
Chief Raymond was then asked about a man who had been arrested in Shreveport last year for making threats on social media about President Donald Trump. That man was arrested and held on a $500,000 bond. The question to Chief Raymond was to compare that 2019 arrest to the credible threats made on social media this weekend about local protesters. Here's what the Chief said:
"We're certainly gonna, they're being investigated. And if they need to be arrested, they'll be arrested. I can assure you we are not going to not arrest somebody based on the color of their skin, or the position that they take, be it far-right for left. You know we will treat every one of them as appropriate and if there are criminal violations their actions and the district attorney would like to prosecute then they'll be arrested."