(WO) The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating threats made against this weekend’s St. Pete Pride Festival and its attendees.
The threats were allegedly made on social media by a Facebook user listed as Jimmy Hutmaster. Authorities were alerted immediately by area local Ryan Menke, Tampa Bay’s ABC affiliate reported June 20.
According to screenshots obtained by the outlet and Menke, Hutmaster shared a listing of St. Pete Pride events while advising “the time has far past to [sic] iraticate” Pride celebrants. He further advised “I am calling in my [sic] SNIPPER Friends,” using a homophobic slur and advising the LGBTQ community “must be [sic] iraticated much like cockroaches, NOW.”
A screenshot courtesy of Menke can be seen below:
“After what happened to our community with Pulse and the countless crimes towards the LGBT community, when I see something I am saying something,” Menke told ABC. “I don’t care if it is an idle threat, I’m not taking my chances.”
According to the outlet, the St. Pete Police Department has notified their federal partners about the threats and has a closely articulated security plan for St. Pete Pride. It includes undercover and uniformed police officers, a podium with video surveillance and other unspecified measures.
Watermark spoke with St. Pete Pride Executive Director Luke Blankenship, who added that “there’s no safer place for the parade in the entire Tampa Bay area because of the security we have.”
The 16th annual St. Pete Pride will be held June 22-24, 2018. It is expected to draw 250,000 celebrants to the Sunshine City.