After protesters poured into the streets in St. Louis, Missouri, on Friday night in response to the acquittal of a former white police officer who fatally shot a black man in 2011, Pennsylvania state Rep. Aaron Bernstine tweeted that he would run over protesters with his car if they blocked any roads he was driving on.
"If anyone EVER tries to stop my car on a highway with negative intentions... I will not stop under any conditions," Bernstine tweeted with an article attached that reported protesters had shut down streets in St. Louis.
If anyone EVER tries to stop my car on a highway with negative intentions... I will not stop under any conditions. https://t.co/Uf62WwhIUk
— Aaron Bernstine (@AaronBernstine) September 16, 2017
Of course, the news of an elected official tweeting about hitting protesters with a vehicle, especially in the wake of the recent murder of activist, Heather Heyer, in Charlottesville, is quite stunning.
In a tweet that followed hours later, he suggested that the protesters were "thugs" after a Pennsylvania progressive tweeted the phone numbers to his office and said his original tweet would be considered "murder." "Feel free to call my office and let me know if you think it is ok to refuse to stop if thugs try to stop me or my family on a highway," Bernstine wrote.
Feel free to call my office and let me know if you think it is ok to refuse to stop if thugs try to stop me or my family on a highway https://t.co/vKQCOz8h74 — Aaron Bernstine (@AaronBernstine) September 16, 2017
On Friday former police officer, Jason Stockley, was found not guilty of the first-degree murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, and demonstrations immediately began outside of the courthouse and then into the streets, according to Reuters.
Protesters chanted, "no justice, no peace," and "Hey hey! Ho ho! These killer cops have got to go!"
Things eventually turned violent and police fired tear gas, as well as rubber bullets and some protesters broke windows, and threw bricks and water bottles at law enforcement, Reuters reported.
A total of eight officers were injured, according to the city's police department. At least 32 people were arrested, according to the Daily Beast.
A total of 8 officers have sustained injuries throughout the day. #STLVerdict
— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) September 16, 2017
— Christian P. Bryant (@BryantCP) September 15, 2017
St Louis police assault an elderly woman for protesting the St Louis police pic.twitter.com/wxoU5U28Yt
— jordan 🌹🌹 (@JordanUhl) September 16, 2017