Cesar Altieri Sayoc, the suspect in the nationwide bombing campaign against critics of President Trump, regularly took to Twitter to make thinly veiled death threats against other users and peppered some of the targets with abuse, according to a quick review of an account authorities believe belongs to Sayoc. Twitter initially allowed the posts to remain despite its stated policy barring threats.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, actor Jim Carrey, director and former actor Ron Howard, and the TMZ celebrity news service all received tweets from someone using the handle @hardrock2016 that made thinly veiled threats against their lives. Rochelle Ritchie, a political commentator who tweets under the @RochelleRitchie handle, received a similar tweet warning her that “We have nice silent air boat ride for u here on Everglades swamp. We will see you 4 sure. Hug your loved ones real close every time you leave home.” Similar to the tweets sent to others, the message directed at Ritchie included an image of her and accompanying images of the tarot card for death and TV news coverage purporting to report on a body being recovered from the Everglades.
Five hours, later, Ritchie tweeted that Twitter asked her to disregard the earlier refusal. "We've investigated and suspended the account you reported as it was found to be participating in abusive behavior," company representatives wrote.
Below are images other threatening tweets that Twitter removed only after Sayoc's arrest.
Shortly after Sayoc’s arrest, Ritchie said on Twitter that she had reported the threatening tweet to Twitter, and the site did nothing.
“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,” Ritchie tweeted. “Well guess what it’s the guy who has been sending #bombs to high profile politicians!!!!”
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!!!! pic.twitter.com/xBY8FMbqnq
— R O C H E L L E (@RochelleRitchie) October 26, 2018
In an email sent after this post went live, a Twitter representative cited an "ongoing criminal investigation" in declining to comment or explain why the the company didn’t take down the tweets until now. As this post was being published, Twitter suspended the @hardrock2016 account, which used the name Cesar Altieri.
According to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the FBI, the @hardrock2016 account user made some of the same spelling mistakes found on packages containing the bombs and also made criticisms of former president Barack Obama and philanthropist George Soros on Wednesday, two days after a bomb sent to Soros was recovered.
The Washington Post has a much more detailed profile of Sayoc here that, among other things, says the suspect delivered pizzas in a van that was covered in disturbing images, including headless puppets and mannequins, Ku Klux Klan figures, a black person being hung, anti-gay symbols, torchings, and bombings. In much the way Twitter allowed the abusive tweets to remain online, the pizza maker allowed Sayoc to continue working for company, saying he was a dependable worker.