Yik Yak: Students Accused of Posting Threats Against Blacks

ST. LOUIS (KMOX/AP) – Two white Missouri college students were arrested yesterday for making racist threats on the social media app Yik Yak — one from Missouri S&T and another from Northwest Missouri State. But many people may not even know what Yik Yak is.

They are suspected of posting online threats to shoot black people at the University of Missouri and Northwest Missouri State University, Wednesday. A third threat to the campus of the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T) is being investigated by police.

Related story: Two Suspects Arrested for Racist Social Media Death Threats

Yik Yak is most popular among college students, who use it to post pithy remarks about what’s going on, complain about exams, ask about people they think are cute, etc.

It’s anonymous, or so you’d think by looking at it.

All you see is a stream of comments, no names. But the fine print says Yik Yak, under subpoena, will give police your IP address and GPS coordinates. The app uses GPS so that you only see comments from people who are around you, so in St. Louis you could see posts from Saint Louis University and Washington University.

It’s been used by students at dozens of campuses to make offensive comments and threaten violence, and in those cases, the posters have been tracked down and arrested.

Hunter Park, a 19-year-old sophomore studying computer science at S&T, was arrested shortly before 2 a.m. at a residence hall, authorities said. His post threatened to “shoot every black person I see.” The posts followed the resignations on Monday of the University of Missouri system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus in Columbia.

The school said no weapons were found. Boone County prosecutors announced the criminal charge later Wednesday and recommended that he be held without bond.

The second arrest was of Connor Stottlemyre a student at Northwest State University in Maryville, who is also 19-years-old. He was arrested Wednesday morning for allegedly posting on Yik Yak, “I’m gonna shoot any black people tomorrow, so be ready.”

Park, was jailed in Columbia. Stottlemyre was being held at the Nodaway County Jail on suspicion of making a terrorist threat.

The threats made on social media mirror a message that appeared ahead of the deadly campus shooting at an Oregon community college last month. Those threats were made on the website 4chan, a forum where racist and misogynistic comments are common.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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