Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Sunday, August 18, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 57° Clear
News >  Spokane

Former KREM reporter, Democratic strategist says she warned Twitter about Florida bomb suspect

UPDATED: Fri., Oct. 26, 2018, 9:49 p.m.

Rochelle Ritchie, a former KREM reporter turned Democratic strategist, says she warned Twitter two weeks ago about Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man now accused of mailing pipe bombs to more than a dozen prominent Democrats.
Rochelle Ritchie, a former KREM reporter turned Democratic strategist, says she warned Twitter two weeks ago about Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man now accused of mailing pipe bombs to more than a dozen prominent Democrats.

A former KREM reporter-turned-Democratic strategist says she warned Twitter two weeks ago about Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man now accused of mailing pipe bombs to more than a dozen prominent Democrats and other public figures.

Rochelle Ritchie worked for the Spokane news station from 2007 to 2009 and now makes regular appearances on Fox News as a Democratic strategist. She’s also worked at TV stations in Oklahoma and West Palm Beach, Florida, and served as a spokeswoman for the Baltimore state attorney’s office.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Ritchie said the social media company had rebuffed her when she reported that Sayoc – using the handle @hardrock2016 – threatened her on Oct. 11.

Ritchie shared an image of Sayoc’s threatening tweet, which read: “So you like make threats.We Unconquered Seminole Tribe will answer your threats.We have nice silent Air boat ride for u here on our land Everglades Swamp .We will see you 4 sure.Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.”

Another image showed Twitter’s response to Ritchie’s complaint: “We have reviewed your report carefully and found that there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.”

On Friday, Ritchie wrote: “Hey @Twitter remember when I reported the guy who was making threats towards me after my appearance on @FoxNews and you guys sent back a bs response about how you didn’t find it that serious. Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!!”

Sayoc, 56, apparently targeted Ritchie after she appeared on “Fox & Friends” in September. In the segment, she had critiqued former President Barack Obama’s decision to urge voters to turn out for the midterm elections, saying in part, “I don’t think he should get into this mosh pit of Trump politics.”

Sayoc, who has a lengthy criminal record, was arrested Friday and charged with sending improvised explosive devices to public figures who have been vilified by the right, including Obama, former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, California Rep. Maxine Waters and George Soros, a billionaire philanthropist and liberal donor.

Later in the day, Twitter released a statement on their @TwitterSafety account that said, “We made a mistake when Rochelle Ritchie first alerted us to the threat made against her. The Tweet clearly violated our rules and should have been removed. We are deeply sorry for that error.

“We are investigating what happened and will continue to work to improve how we handle concerns raised by anyone on Twitter.

“We want Twitter to be a place where people feel safe, and we know we have lot of work to do,” it added.

Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter

Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com