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St. Louis mayor says she's done with Twitter

Mayor Tishaura Jones said the "final straw" for her was Twitter owner Elon Musk's tweet referencing the protests that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown.
Credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI
St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones makes her remarks during a press conference in St. Louis, Wednesday, June 8, 2022.

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones on Thursday said she's "out" and will no longer tweet from her personal Twitter account.

Jones, whose personal Twitter handle is @tishaura, said the "final straw" for her was new Twitter owner Elon Musk's tweet referencing the protests that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a former Ferguson police officer in August 2014.

In Musk's initial tweet, he posted a 12-second video of "#StayWoke" T-shirts he said were found in a closet at Twitter's San Francisco headquarters.

"Here we are at the merch thing, and there's an entire ... closet full of #Woke. They're T-shirts," Musk said on the video posted to his account Tuesday at 9 p.m. CDT.

About five hours later, he posted another tweet linking to the Department of Justice's March 2015 report that cleared the police officer who shot Brown.

It appears, however, that about eight minutes earlier, Musk posted a now-deleted tweet also linking to the report, adding, "#StayWoke shirts stem from the Ferguson protests. Obama's own DOJ proved this & exonerated the cop. 'Hands up don't shoot' was made up. The whole thing was a fiction."

It's unclear when the tweet was deleted. Musk has since responded to other users' tweets using similar language.

The DOJ report found witness accounts that Brown put his hands up were "inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence." The report added the accounts "changed over time."

The report concluded that there was "no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove (the police officer's) stated subjective belief that he feared for his safety."

At the same time the report on Brown's death was released, the DOJ also released its investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, which found a pattern and practice of discriminatory policing.

During a home game in November 2014, several St. Louis Rams players walked onto the field displaying the "hands up, don't shoot" gesture days after St. Louis County proseucting attorney Bob McCulloch said that a grand jury declined to indict the police officer.

Since Musk took control of Twitter in late October, he has made several controversial decisions, including reinstating accounts that were suspended for inciting violence or spreading misinformation.

Musk has also laid off half of the company’s 7,500-person workforce, fired top executives and instituted a series of ultimatums that prompted hundreds more to quit.

On Thursday, Musk said he is granting "amnesty” for other suspended accounts, which online safety experts predict will spur a rise in harassment, hate speech and misinformation.

The #StayWoke T-shirts referenced in Musk's tweet were created in 2016 by a group of Black Twitter employees as Black Lives Matter protests were taking place across the country.

The term "woke" is meant to bring awareness to social and political issues that affect African Americans. It has its roots in 1930s African-American Vernacular English (AAVE).

Black folk singer-songwriter Lead Belly uses the phrase "stay woke" in the lyrics to his song "Scottsboro Boys."

"I advise everybody, be a little careful when they go along through there—best stay woke, keep their eyes open," Lead Belly wrote. The song tells the story of nine Black teenagers who were accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931.

"Y’all can have this bird app," Jones said, before wishing a "Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate and Happy Holidays."

A spokesperson for Jones' office said Friday that Jones' official mayoral Twitter account, @saintlouismayor, would continue to tweet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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