This Woman Says Houston Police "Brushed Off" Her Report of Gruesome Facebook Death Threats
On Tuesday, Facebook user Heather Smith received a death threat on the social media platform from a Houston-based user who called himself Matt Walters. The lengthy message listed in gruesome detail how Walters planned on kidnapping, torturing and murdering Smith.
But when Smith turned to Houston police for help, they "brushed [her] off," according to a series of screenshots she publicly posted to her Facebook profile. Smith also implored readers to share her post for fear that "he might try to do this to another black woman."
Walters' makes his racial motivations clear, writing that he would tie Smith up in "a dark place just because I'm nice."
"After all," the message continued, "you obviously hate white people and the light bulb was invented by a white guy!!!"
As he went on, the threats got increasingly graphic. "You probably like that shit though because you're a filthy black chick!!"
A screenshot of Walters' profile also shows him using the n-word alongside a post showing "Black Lives Matter" spray painted on a Confederate grave.
In the comments, Smith described her experience with the police, "The lady took a deep breath as if annoyed and told me to make a police report where I live. And that's it. ... What more could there be to a stranger messaging me about how he's gonna kill me?"
According to her initial post, Smith said Walters blocked her on Facebook after sending the messages, Smith said in a Facebook comment, but friends and fellow Facebook users went after Walters on their own.
One user reported Walter to Facebook, which reportedly wrote back that Walter hadn't violated any community standards. On the other hand, another Facebook user was temporarily blocked from the platform for sharing Smith's post:
And when that same user reached out to Walters' brother regarding the written threats, his brother dismissed it as "jist [sic] a joke" and said Smith was "being baligerant [sic]."
But Smith commented that she had never spoken to Walters, calling him a stranger.
According to Smith, she, too, has been temporarily suspended from her own Facebook account for sharing the messages.
This isn't the first time she's received Facebook threats, Smith told Mic, but it is the first time they've been this specific.
"I've gotten messages with racial slurs — people just talking loud and saying nothing," she said. "But never anything this in-depth and this much like a threat. This was scary."
She eventually reached out to her local police department who, she told Mic, "laughed it off" and "begrudgingly" made a report. Smith added she suspects she is targeted for being vocal about racism and social issues on her Facebook page.
"Racists don't like what I'm doing," Smith said. "They don't like my calling it blatant racism in this country. But I do it anyway. But none of it merits a threat on my life. It reveals how deep this racism can go."
Mic reached out to the Houston Police Department, but no one was immediately available for comment.