University of Missouri Police Arrest Student for ‘Terrorist Threats’ on YikYak

Jason Silverstein, New York Daily News, November 11, 2015

University of Missouri Police arrested a student from another state school Wednesday for posting “terrorist threats” on the anonymous messaging app YikYak, which spiked tensions at a campus still riddled with intense racial conflicts.

The posts fueled fears of violence that left the embattled Columbia campus a partial ghost town. Some nearby restaurants closed for the day, several professors canceled classes and students tweeted photos showing the heart of the campus devoid of any activity. The encampments protesters had set up on school grounds over the past week mostly disappeared.

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Police named Hunter M. Park, 19, as the suspect for the threats. He was initially given a $4,500 bond, but a judge later said he would be held without bond. He has not been formally charged.

Park is sophomore at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, about 100 miles south of Columbia, school officials said. {snip}

Officers arrested Park in a residence hall around 1:50 a.m. and did not find any weapons with him, officials said.

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Park appeared to also rant about Mizzou on Reddit Tuesday and boast about his YikYak messages.

A member with the same username Park had on other social media posted a complaint about Mizzou’s protests on its Reddit page.

“Entitled mizzou students f—ed over the other um schools. I hope to see mizzou kicked out of the sec..,” the user wrote, likely referring to the Southeastern Conference and the game boycott from many black Mizzou football players.

In other posts, the user wrote: “My roommates and I spoofed our gps and are trolling your yik yak. It’s fantastic…there are plenty of (android) apps that allow you to do it.”

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Police did not say which YikYak posts they connected to Park. Students circulated screenshots of several apparent threats from YikYak Tuesday night.

One post said the user would “stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see.”

Another message said: “Some of you are alright. Don’t go to campus tomorrow.”

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The YikYak scare came the same night Mizzou student body president Payton Head–whose story of a racist encounter spearheaded the ongoing student upheaval–apparently cried wolf over a Ku Klux Klan sighting on the mostly white campus.

Head, who is black, warned the campus about a “confirmed” KKK sighting and said he was working with campus police, state troopers and the National Guard to investigate. He then retracted his claim and wrote on social media people should only listen to official updates from the school.

“I’m sorry about the misinformation that I have shared through social media,” he wrote on Facebook. “In a state of alarm, I was concerned for all students of the University of Missouri and wanted to ensure that everyone was safe.”

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