RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Gay bashing and homophobic comments are on full display following the horrific shootings in Orlando. Are these repulsive comments on social media criminal or simply free speech? Richmond Police are now issuing a social media warning.
"This pain is everyone's and the violence has gone wild," said the Rev. Jeanne Pupke with the First Unitarian Universalist Church.
Some are celebrating the Orlando massacre at a gay nightclub, Pulse. One tweet calls the shooter a hero. Others tweeted: "nothing wrong with shooting a few gays, and gays should be shot for disrespecting the natural order."
"It's so horrific that everyone wonders, who is next?" said Pupke who is a lesbian reverend vowing to tackle bigotry and homophobia.
"We are part of a community, and we pridefully do our part to resist this terror," said Pupke. "We will not bow down."
Richmond police are pushing a difference message. Think twice before you post on social media.
"If a person feels threatened or offended by it, they can bring it to the authorities attention, and it can be something that is investigated and possibly criminal charges brought against you," said Captain Angela Greene, the LGBTQ liaison for the Richmond Police Department.
Greene notes one could face charges like harassment by computer. That charge could lead to up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
"So I would obviously urge you and caution you that before you put something out on social media that millions of people can view, that you seriously reconsider what you are about to say and make sure you are not offending anyone or threatening any particular group of people in any way," said Greene.
Pupke is hosting a community service at the First Unitarian Universalist Church on Wednesday starting at 5:30 p.m.
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