Twitter has suspended the account @killercops1984 for violating its rules and policies against inciting violence, in this case against police officers, the Los Angeles Police Protective League said on Monday, March 27.
Last week, the union filed a lawsuit against the owner of KillerCop.com, and his related Twitter account, it says has listed bounties for killing police officers.
“We are appreciative of Twitter acting swiftly to take down this dangerous website that called for the murder of Los Angeles police officers,” Craig Lally, president of the police that represents Los Angeles Police Department officers, said in a statement. “This was not about freedom of speech or public discourse, this was about protecting officers and their families and for that we are grateful that this site is suspended.”
The LAPD had released the pictures, names and work locations of 9,000 officers through California Public Records Act requests. That included those who work in sensitive assigned and undercover operations, with that part of of the release deemed a mistake by the department.
“The owner of the ‘killer cop’ website was able to download this sensitive information, post it online and place a bounty to be paid to anyone who kills a Los Angeles police officer,” Lally said in his statement.
In a Friday interview with the Southern California News Group, Steven Sutcliffe, 61, of Los Angeles said he does not want a police officer hurt. Rather, he said, posting about rewards satirizes police departments who seek fugitives. The goal is to point out police misconduct, he said.
“No one is going to listen to me unless I sensationalized it,” he told SCNG. “I’m just a little tiny voice in the middle of nowhere.”
On the murky website, it was unclear if any reward was currently posted.
“While this site offers the rewards to persons who engage in lawful conduct that results in the arrest, or death, of a police officer, or others, engaged in illegal or unlawful conduct, this site does not advocate, encourage or condone any conduct that is illegal or unlawful at any time by any person,” the website said as of Monday.
Union attorneys had served a cease-and-desist notice on Twitter and Google seeking the immediate removal of the “killer cop” landing spots on the platforms. Twitter complied on Sunday.
Tom Saggau, a union spokesman, said the lawsuit is not against the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, which filed the original public records requests for the information about officers, but targets the owner of the “killer cop” website.
“We’re looking into all websites to see legally what we can do,” said Jamie McBride, a union director. “However, the ‘killer cop’ website was of the utmost (importance) to our membership and for officers’ safety.”
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