CINCINNATI -- The group behind an ongoing lawsuit against five City Council Democrats tweeted that one of them was "being hunted" by armed deputies Wednesday night and called another a "douche" for objecting to their phrasing.
By 9 p.m. Wednesday, the official Twitter timeline of COAST -- Coalition Against Additional Spending and Taxes -- was a hashtag-laden collage of retweets, GIFs and statements doubling down on the attacks.
It wasn't quite as intense as the time COAST compared fire department budget cuts to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the attacks' 10th anniversary, but it was vociferous and sparked an immediate reaction.
"‘Hunted?'" Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld tweeted in response. "This organization's racist, dangerous, bullying ways are despicable. ALL local electeds should denounce this!"
On Thursday, police said they were "reviewing recent social media posts that have raised concerns. The Police Department will review this matter with the Law Department to determine any necessary action."
COAST's treasurer, Mark Miller, in April filed suit against council members Sittenfeld, Tamaya Dennard, Chris Seelbach, Wendell Young and Greg Landsman after the group issued a joint statement on the firing of then-city manager Harry Black.
The suit accused the "Gang of Five" of holding illegal secret meetings via private text messages and emails, and a judge ruled the city should release all texts and emails exchanged among the group since the beginning of 2018.
The deadline went partially unmet with only about 80 pages of communications released. Lawyer Brian Shrive's claims that Wendell Young had maliciously deleted some of those messages to prevent their disclosure prompted Hamilton County deputies to issue grand jury subpoenas for the entire group.
By Wednesday night, when local Twitter burst into flame emojis, some had still not been served. In addition to the claims against Young, Shrive and COAST had also insinuated without evidence that Dennard's explanation for being unable to provide some texts -- that she had dropped her phone in a pool by accident, frying it -- was a lie.
Thence the tweet aimed at her:
Hey, @TDennard, you are still being hunted. Think about it, eventually you will make a public appearance where Sheriff can serve you with your Grand Jury subpoena. Do you really want to make a spectacle of this? #cooperate #turnyourselfin #surrender!
— COAST (@GOCOAST) November 28, 2018
And the response from Seelbach, who said he was prepared to involve Cincinnati police:
— Chris Seelbach (@ChrisSeelbach) November 29, 2018
And feminine hygiene products entering the conversation:
.@ChrisSeelbach you are such a douche. Let me introduce you to our #FirstAmendment attorneys @FinneyLawFirm @brianshrive. We've been to #SCOTUS. We won 9-0. I really don't think you want to f*** with us.
— COAST (@GOCOAST) November 29, 2018
COAST also -- perhaps accidentally -- retweeted a non-official's comment calling the group "twerps."
Earlier on Wednesday, Judge Jody Luebbers agreed to appoint a "special master" to review all of the text messages sent among the five council members and determine which were relevant to the case. Landsman and Young had testified before the grand jury the previous day.
Assistant Prosecutor Mark Piepmeyer said nothing in the lawsuit over the texts is criminal, but destruction of texts could potentially be tampering with evidence.