ST. LOUIS • A man sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for helping launch a cyberattack that disabled the St. Louis County police union website has agreed to house arrest and new restrictions for postings be allegedly made online.
Officials said Justin E. Payne tweeted about the Dallas police shooter and made derogatory comments about police and the FBI.
His lawyer declined comment.
Payne was released from federal prison to a halfway house on June 9, and on June 23 was allowed to receive recreational passes.
On July 2, authorities claim, he began using one of his old Twitter handles, @stlrbg044, writing that he has been set up by the FBI and police. He referred to “street revolutionaries ready to get justice and liberation by any means,” federal court documents show.
The tweets continued in the days that followed, and referenced Dallas police shooter Micah Johnson on July 11. One tweet read, “Rip to our RbG brother,” and later said, “#MicahJohnson spelled out RbG before he died.”
That’s an apparent reference to the initials “RB” that were among the things Johnson reportedly wrote using his own blood after he was fatally injured by a bomb borne by a police robot. There has been speculation, but no conclusions, about what Johnson was trying to spell. Johnson shot and killed five Dallas police officers on July 7 and wounded seven other officers and two civilians.
In the past, Payne has posted from three “Rebel but Gangster” or RbG Black Rebels-associated Twitter accounts, court documents say.
On July 14, probation officials alerted U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey about the latest tweets. Last week, Payne agreed to restrictions on computer and cellphone use, as well as six months of house arrest and location monitoring that could include use of a GPS tracking device.
He also agreed to allow probation officers access to any computers and social media accounts.
Payne waived a hearing on the claims but did not admit that he was the author of the tweets.
In December, Payne, then 33, was sentenced after admitting disabling the St. Louis County Police Association website in 2014 and threatening law enforcement in a Jan. 26, 2014, tweet.
When he was arrested, FBI agents found a gun, a very small amount of marijuana and a Molotov cocktail in his car, records show. He pleaded guilty in September to a misdemeanor computer crime and a felony charge of possession of a firebomb.