BOZEMAN — A Bozeman man is facing multiple felony charges after allegedly threatening members of the Bozeman City Commission on social media after reportedly becoming frustrated with the city's housing situation.
Robert R. Brigham, 44, was charged with five counts of threats/improper influence in official/political matters.
Brigham was seen in Gallatin County Justice Court on Wednesday where his bond was set at $5,000.
According to charging documents, on Monday, July 25, 2022, a Bozeman Police Department detective was notified of threatening messages being posted on Twitter by Brigham.
A review of the @BobBrigham Twitter account included in court documents showed the following tweets:
- “I got hit with with (sic) an 80% rent increase and have to move because of the corrupt ###clowns who run @CityofBozeman have refused to declare a state of emergency to respond to the overpopulation catastrophe. They wrecked my hometown and I hope they *all* roast in hell.”
- “I wish Montanans still painted 3-7-77 on the doors of corrupt politicians. Montana used to have honor, but the ###clowns who allowed the overpopulation catastrophe have no business being above dirt. It’s just an awful public policy outcome and we know how to do better.”
- “I wish #Bozeman still had had (sic) the 3-7-77 spirit that founded our community. We don’t have a single elected official who is competently responding to the overpopulation crisis, they all deserve the gallows.”
- “I’m going to punch the next #Bozeman commissioner I encounter and any jury will say I’m right”
- “I wish extreme violence against every #Bozeman elected official. They *all* deserve to dangle from a tree.”
- “I’ve talked to a bunch of people today and there’s an overwhelming consensus that no jury would convict me for burning down city hall when @CityofBozeman refuses to declare an overpopulation state of emergency”
The detective and other officers contacted Brigham on July 26 and the man confirmed he had a Twitter account and his name on Twitter was Bob Brigham. Brigham was told the detectives were there about some posts he had recently made.
Reportedly, without being asked a question, Brigham stated: “I’m frustrated with how the City of Bozeman sucks so bad, this is my hometown, and I lost my apartment. I keep seeing my friends getting forced out of town, and the City of Bozeman sends three people here but they won’t declare a state of emergency over the overpopulation crisis. I’m frustrated as hell, yeah I posted all about it and yes it’s true there is no jury that would convict me if go (sic) burn down city hall.”
Brigham reportedly stated he wasn’t going to do anything and he was frustrated, but acknowledged how there could be concern over what he posted online.
When detectives interviewed the elected City of Bozeman officials, they reported being visibly upset seeing and hearing the threats written by Brigham and were concerned for their safety.
“We respect the first amendment and especially having an open government here in Bozeman and that city commission does have ample opportunity for the public to come forward and we support that and protect that,” said police Capt. Joseph Swanson.
But Swanson says there is a fine line between free speech and criminal behavior.
“Usually, the violence - that’s the big trigger point,” says Swanson.
But in cases where there is no violence, there can still be a crime.
“When those comments become some type of hate speech that could be specific that could be specific to someone’s race, creed, color, religion - that can turn criminal,” says Swanson.
Brigham's next court appearance is set for Aug. 12, 2022.