ACLU to file suit on behalf of @peoriamayor author

May 13, 2014

The city of Peoria and possibly Mayor Jim Ardis could be faced with a lawsuit following the investigation into a fake Twitter account making fun of the mayor.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois made a statement Tuesday saying the group intends to bring legal action against those responsible for violating the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Jon Daniel. He was the creator of the @PeoriaMayor account.

Peoria police raided Daniel’s home in April, seized various electronic devices and detained individuals at the residence to find the author of the Twitter account. ACLU of Illinois spokesman, Ed Yohnka says political parody is protected speech, and should not have led to the action taken against Daniel and other occupants in his home. 

“If you look at Twitter today, there are thousands of parody accounts of athletes, and celebrities, and actors, and actresses, and political figures. And we cannot find a single instance in which any of those people have ever used the power of the police to shut down and then detain someone simply for putting something on Twitter that the elected official didn’t like,” says Yohnka.

Yohnka says the ACLU initially intervened on behalf of Daniel and Jacob Elliot, demanding city police and the Peoria County State’s Attorney return all of the electronic devices taken during the April 15th raid. Those items were returned.

It's unclear when any lawsuit might be filed.