Hours after two St. Louis-area police officers were shot outside the headquarters of the embattled Ferguson police department early Thursday, anti-cop trolls took to Twitter to send out messages praising the violent act.
The police officers, who are not members of Ferguson's force, were part of a 25-man police line at the embattled headquarters, where Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson had announced his resignation hours earlier in the wake of a police officer's shooting a black man in August. The hours-long demonstration, at which protesters called for more city officials to resign or be fired, was under control until after midnight, when suddenly as many as four shots were fired at the police. Both police officers, one of whom was shot in the face, were treated and released several hours later.
But while police hunted for suspects and officials including President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the shootings, on Twitter there was a dark sentiment of solidarity with would-be cop killers. Here are some of the examples that can be published:
In cellphone video of the shooting's immediate aftermath, two shots ring out and a man is heard screaming out in pain. Someone at the scene, unseen and unidentified in the video, says: "Acknowledgement nine months ago would have kept that from happening."
Even in the media, much of the coverage seemed to stop short of full-throated condemnation of the shootings. On MSNBC, sympathy was directed at Al Sharpton, who led protests in Ferguson and embraced the debunked claims that Wilson gunned down Brown as the unarmed 18-year-old begged for his life with his hands in the air.
"This has got to be terribly frustrating for you," Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough said to his NBC colleague.
Another guest on the show, former New Orleans mayor and current president of the National Urban League Marc Morial said the shootings show "that people want further change.”
President Obama immediately condemned the shootings, with a Tweet of his own calling the act "unacceptable."
Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Department of Justice launched an investigation that ultimately cleared Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown, but condemned the department for alleged racial profiling over several years, also condemned the shooting and then went off script to say it was the work of "some damn punk."
Brown's own family issued a statement Thursday condemning the shooting.
"We reject any kind of violence directed toward members of law enforcement," the statement read. "It cannot and will not be tolerated."