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A St. Louis man has been slapped with several felony terrorism charges for allegedly posting a series of tweets threatening to kill police and set off an explosion at a downtown city jail.
In a complaint filed with a Missouri court, prosecutors say Jason Valentine, 35, posted 10 tweets between early to mid-December containing threats with "the purpose of frightening ten or more people," including referring to New Year's Eve as "Kill a Pig Night."
Authorities had reportedly ramped up efforts to identify and charge Valentine following the shooting deaths of two NYPD police officers in Brooklyn last month, according to local media.
Investigators found that Valentine "used the slang 'pig' and '12' to describe police officers," and took the threats seriously, according to the complaint, given that the slogan " 'kill a pig night 12/31/2014' gained momentum nationally."
Many of the tweets also contained the hashtags #Ferguson, #Shaw, #VonderritMyers, and #NoJusticeNoChristmas, which are phrases associated with the 2014 police killings of two unarmed black men in St. Louis and ensuing protests that broke out and fanned across the country in recent months.
In one tweet, the suspect also used the hashtag #KillJeffRoorda, referencing the business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and outspoken supporter of Officer Darren Wilson, who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson on August 9.
Valentine reportedly "admits to using the Twitter user handle @jdstl314 and being the sole poster under that user handle," the complaint states. His Twitter account was suspended on Monday and the charges against him will be presented to a grand jury. Each count brought against him is a Class C felony, carrying a maximum seven-year jail term.
In 2012, Valentine was charged with aggravated stalking and violation of an order of protection order, according to the complaint.