Social Media

Judge Orders Man To #NeverTweet

Kyler Schmitz is accused of tweeting death threats to legislators

Social Media
Illustration: Diana Quach
Jun 29, 2016 at 11:41 AM ET

#NeverTweet is a popular hashtag used by people who often tweet, even though they know how easy it is for 140 ill-advised characters to get someone in trouble. It’s wise and rarely followed advice.

For one man, it’s also a court order.

Kyler Schmitz, a Virginia man who works as an Uber driver, is accused of tweeting death threats to at least one U.S. senator, Missouri’s Roy Blunt specifically, and to Republican members of Congress in general. He was arrested last Friday. According to Politico, his alleged Twitter account (now suspended) tweeted things like “I am literally going to buy a gun shoot you in the face I watch your brains splat” and “I am coming for you” to Blunt and North Dakota senator John Hoeven, respectively. It also, Gawker reported, tweeted at the GOP’s House and Senate accounts that “I can’t wait to shoot you in the face one by one.”

Schmitz tweeted to other users about buying guns, according to the police report. Tweets still up on what was allegedly Schmitz’s account indicate that this was the case.

He also, judging from tweets sent to the account, had a somewhat heated exchange with his local police department.

Schmitz was arrested last Friday after an automatic license plate reader detected his car near the Capitol building around the time he allegedly sent the tweets (again, he is an Uber driver, so this could have been a coincidence).

He was released on Tuesday. Local news station NBC4’s Scott MacFarlane reported (on Twitter, of course) that the release came under the condition that Schmitz stay in his house, not travel to Washington D.C., have no contact with “Representatives,” undergo mental health and substance abuse treatment, abstain from alcohol, and, oh yeah, he “may NOT Tweet at all for any reason to anyone.”

Schmitz’s fiancé told NBC4 that the tweets were meant to be satirical, while Schmitz’s lawyer called them an “inartful political discourse” about gun control in the wake of the Orlando nightclub shootings. In a hearing, NBC4 reported, a judge said they didn’t know how to the tweets could be read “any way but as threatening.”