A key organizer of the recent protests in St. Louis claims that police officer made calls to her job as a form of intimidation.
Leigh Maibes, who goes by the online alias Short Stack, posted a video Wednesday night of her calling and confronting St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer Keith Novara. Maibes says that the previous day, the officer called her job to tell her boss about her activism, especially her Twitter account.
Maibes told Fusion that her Twitter account was completely anonymous until two days ago, when she was outed by a troll. After that, she says her boss got a call from Novara.
“You know that this to me feels like intimidation because you are an officer that patrols my area and an officer who I’ve also had contact with while trying to resolve some issues on my street,” she tells the officer in the video.
Officer Novara says he called her work to let her boss know that he might be getting calls about her and her Twitter activity.
“Some of the tweets and some of the… things.. that I was seeing… was just.. inciteful,” he says. He adds that some of the material seems "anti-police."
A call to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for comment was not immediately returned.
Maibes says she's seeking legal representation.
UPDATE 10/16/14 at 1:00pm EST:
The St. Louis Police Officers Association has released a statement Mr. Navaro's call:
"We've confirmed that a complaint was filed with Internal Affairs against our member, Keith Novara," SLPOA Business Manager Jeff Roorda acknowledged. "The Association has hired an attorney that specializes in First Amendment rights to represent Officer Novara. It is confounding to us as an organization of law enforcement professionals that apologists for the so-called 'peaceful protestors' in Ferguson and the Shaw neighborhood defend throwing bricks, bottles and rocks at police officers as 'freedom of speech or freedom of expression'. Then, those very same people feign righteous indignation when a police officer who is fed up with the corrosive, anti-police rhetoric that this particular agitator has made in a public forum on social media, exercises his freedom of speech and freedom of expression in a truly peaceful manner." Roorda continued, "today Officer Novara joined the ranks of law enforcement officers and police union officials who have received death threats, had threats made against their children or been subject to cyber-attacks. All of this for the mere act of setting the record straight on public statements made by people spreading irresponsible lies and calling for violence against the police. Police Officers are not second-class citizens. They enjoy First Amendment rights and every other right that is enjoyed by every other citizens and we will aggressively defend those rights to our last breath."
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.