Two social media posts inciting violence against local law enforcement and threatening to “exterminate” police officers following the slayings of two New York City officers last weekend landed a Midway man in jail.
McDonald police said Steven Drake Jr. wrote on his Facebook page Dec. 20 and again the following day lengthy posts indicating he “hated the police far before it was a (expletive) trend” and called for others to attack and kill officers.
The first post came the same day a Maryland man shot and killed New York City police officers Raphael Ramos and Wenjian Liu as they sat in their patrol car.
Drake, 29, allegedly took to Facebook hours later and wrote a rambling, profanity-laced comment telling police officers to either “join us or die.” The post does not elaborate on any specific movement or group, but cites the recent deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York City. No charges were filed against the police officers involved in those deaths.
“We’ve given enough fair warning way beforehand!!!!!” the post states. “We said stop the treason or else! Well they haven’t stopped! For every action there is a reaction! We didn’t do this! The police brought this on themselves! I say kill them all! Enough is enough!”
In another comment the next day, investigators said Drake posted a photo of a police officer and wrote, “Can we exterminate him?” McDonald police said Friday the photo does not appear to be of a local police officer, and investigators do not think Drake ever posed a threat to the man.
North Fayette police received a tip with screenshots of Drake’s alleged postings, which have privacy settings that allow only his Facebook friends to see his comments, and forwarded the information to McDonald police Monday. Investigators from McDonald and state police interviewed Drake at his home Tuesday morning, when he admitted to writing the posts, court records indicate. Drake allegedly told investigators he “often posts anti-government and anti-police rhetoric” on his social media pages.
Police said Drake told investigators he was drunk when he wrote the comments and acknowledged they were inflammatory and might incite violence against officers.
Drake was arrested Wednesday night and arraigned by District Judge Gary Havelka on misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and harassment. He was taken to Washington County Jail on $10,000 bond.
McDonald police said they have not received any credible threats against local law enforcement officers following the Facebook postings.