The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the City of Peoria for police actions surrounding a controversial Twitter parody account. Peoria Public Radio’s Tanya Koonce reports:
The suit says the City violated 29 year-old Jon Daniel’s First and Fourth Amendment rights. Daniel is the creator of the At-Peoria-Mayor account. He says its wrong that police searched his home in April, detained him and his roommates and seized all electronics to find the author of the Twitter account that had already been suspended.“My hope it he federal court will make clear that government officials can not use the power of police to threaten, intimidate and punish simply because they dislike or are offended by being the joke of a parody.”
Daniel says he’s never met the mayor and is not politically active.
Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis is holding firm to his position of defamation of character. “If this filthy attack was labeled as parody at the beginning I would not have been any less repulsed, but at least it would be known to those reading the information that the comments weren’t coming from be but in fact someone posing as me.”
The tweets often included representation of Ardis engaging in illicit behaviors.
The ACLU suit seeks a federal declaratory judgment as to the violation of Daniel’s first and fourth amendment rights and permanent ban on such future actions. It also seeks unspecified monetary damages.
Link to the suit
Link to Mayor Jim Ardis' Statement: