1st Amendment Under Attack over Parody Police Facebook Page
A Cleveland police department has arrested an Ohio man for creating a fake Facebook page, and charged him with a felony count of disrupting public services.
The Facebook page was set up on March 2, 2016 and looked similar to a local police department page, and even had the title of “The City of Parma Police Department,” CBS affiliate WOIO reported.
“The Parma Police Department would like to warn the public that a fake Parma Police Facebook page has been created. This matter is currently being investigated by the Parma Police Department and Facebook. This is the Parma Police Department’s official Facebook page. The public should disregard any and all information posted on the fake Facebook account. The individual(s) who created this fake account are not employed by the police department in any capacity and were never authorized to post information on behalf of the department,” the official police Facebook page states.
The page posted “derogatory and inflammatory” information according to Parma police.
The hoax page contained information on ways sex offenders could have their names taken off the state sex offender database, as well as information suggesting its illegal to help the homeless for three months.
The parody site states:
“In this particular case, we believe the material that Novak posted on the fake account crossed the line from satire to an actual risk to public safety,” he said.
The case will undoubtedly bring into question 1st amendment issues.
“It’s an unusual case,” attorney David Brown told cleveland.com.
The catch phrase from the late 90’s “Its only the internet,” seems to hold no water here.
According to CBS, Parma Lt. Kevin Riley said police recognize citizens’ rights to exercise their freedom of speech, but they believe this went too far.
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