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Old 04-24-2014, 07:41 PM   #1
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Police raid house belonging to parody twitter account

This news has been spreading like crazy in the US. Basically, there's was a Twitter account that was a labeled as the mayor of Peoria, that made offensive tweets. The real mayor abused his power and raided the house.

Much

Streisand Effect. Now, comes the backlash.

Quote:
City Council saves best for last - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL
PEORIA — The evening began with sweet music and ended on sour notes.
In between, most of a City Council meeting that lasted more than four hours Tuesday night might not have been particularly newsworthy. But the final hour more than made up for it.

Comments from council members, the public and Mayor Jim Ardis regarding his legal efforts against a parody Twitter account provided multiple did-I-hear-that-correctly moments.

Ardis appeared on the verge of tears as he defended his actions. A council member gave the city manager a pointed dressing down. And there was talk about how Millennials are peeved by Ardis’ actions.

“Young people are angry, very angry,” at-large Councilman Chuck Weaver said.

But a grandmother might have made the most potent, poignant case.
Said Caroline Elliott, whose grandson Jacob Elliott was arrested during a police raid in search of the Twitter-account originator, “This is all so ridiculous.”
That might have been how many in a packed gallery felt about the biggest news of the evening being saved for last.

Usually, a public-comment period is among the final things on the agenda for each council meeting. But on occasion, public comments are moved to the top of the list, if enough people want to discuss a topic. It’s a courtesy for those who might prefer to leave early and skip deliberations about sometimes mundane items.

No such courtesy was extended Tuesday.

Following a meeting prelude that featured musical performances from Peoria School District 150 students, onlookers who wanted to discuss the Ardis Twitter situation waited. And waited. And waited some more, unless they left.
Discussions about mowing grass on vacant lots, academics at Peoria High School and animation on electronic advertising signs came and went. During council members’ opportunity to introduce new business, so did three or four other topics.

Finally, at about 9:27 p.m., more than three hours after the meeting began, Weaver broached the Twitter subject. He asked Ardis if it was an appropriate time.

“Go for it,” the mayor said.
Indeed, Weaver did.

The councilman who briefly considered challenging Ardis in the election last year suggested the show of police force perpetuates a pattern of overaggressiveness. He also suggested the council’s only employee might share culpability in creating such a culture.

Weaver made reference to City Manager Patrick Urich’s job evaluation, conducted last month.

“One of the themes that came up was the importance that you work with the entire council,” Weaver said to Urich. “Sometimes your loyalty to the mayor is too great, and your loyalty to the council is not sufficient.”
Urich showed little reaction to Weaver’s upbraiding. Once Ardis began to read from what appeared to be a prepared statement, he countered Urich’s stoicism.

“What was printed I don’t think was parody, and it certainly isn’t fun when you and your family are on the receiving end of scurrilous sexual description,” an occasionally raspy, halting Ardis said.

“As a person, I felt a victim of sexual doggerel and filth. It was filth. It was absolute filth.”

So agreed a public speaker who supported Ardis, one of two among eight who addressed the council.

“We’re livid when they’re bullying a kid who hangs himself because of what was said on the computer, but we’re supposed to tell you to ignore it? Good for you, Jim,” said LaVetta Ricca, a South Peoria neighborhood activist.
Caroline Elliott, who is in Ricca’s age bracket, didn’t appear to share that view.

“I don’t have a tweet (sic) account ... but you’ve got to promise me you’re not going to send the cops to my house, just because I’m standing here disagreeing with you,” she said to Ardis, whom she called a longtime friend.
Caroline Elliott said she wasn’t pleased about the marijuana possession that resulted in her grandson’s arrest. But she appeared even less pleased about the circumstances that led to it.

“I think we’re all hurting by this, and I don’t think you should use your employees as weapons to get even with the citizens of this city,” said the widow of longtime Peoria radio personality Don Elliott. “We have the right to stand up for what we believe in.”

The start of this ride:
Quote:
Fake Peoria mayor Twitter account prompts real raid of West Bluff house - News - Journal Star - Peoria, IL
PEORIA — Police searched a West Bluff house Tuesday and seized phones and computers in an effort to unmask the author of a parody Twitter account that purported to be Mayor Jim Ardis.

The account — known as @Peoriamayor on the popular social media service that limits entries to 140 characters — already had been suspended for several weeks when up to seven plainclothes police officers executed a search warrant about 5:20 p.m. at 1220 N. University St.

Three people at the home were taken to the Peoria Police Department for questioning. Two other residents were picked up at their places of employment and taken to the station, as well.

One resident — 36-year-old Jacob L. Elliott — was booked into the Peoria County Jail on charges of possessing 30 to 500 grams of marijuana and possessing drug paraphernalia, but no arrests were made in connection with the Twitter account.

“They just asked me about the Twitter account, if I knew anything about it,” said Michelle Pratt, 27, a resident who was in the shower when officers first arrived at the front door. “They brought me in like I was a criminal.”

Pratt, who is Elliott’s girlfriend, said she spent more than three hours alone in an interview room before being questioned by detectives. One other resident, who declined to be identified, said he spent considerably less time in custody but was subject to the same type of questions.

“They said they had a search warrant and took all the electronic devices that had Internet access,” Pratt said. “They said there had been an Internet crime that occurred at this residence.”

Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said officers were investigating the creator of the Twitter account for false personation of a public official. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.

The @Peoriamayor account began in late February or early March with a photo of Ardis and a bio that stated he enjoyed serving the city and included his city email address.

The content of tweets, or entries on the account, ranged from ambiguous to offensive, with repeat references to sex and drugs — and comparisons of Ardis to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford as Ford’s drug use while in office became public.

By about March 10, the bio of the Twitter account was changed to indicate it was a parody account.

Settingsgaard, however, said the intent of the account was not clearly satirical.

“I don’t agree it was obvious, and in fact it appears that someone went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor,” Settingsgaard said in an email response to questions.

Ardis did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
By late March, the @Peoriamayor account was suspended by Twitter. It had about 50 tweets and just as many followers.
“A parody means it’s fake. It was even listed as fake,” Pratt said. “It was a joke Twitter account, and they searched the whole house.”
If you want more news about this, just Google 'Peoria'.

Also, here's the last hour of the last council meeting. The mayor looks like he's about to cry. It's 60 min of the council and citizens giving it to him.

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Old 04-24-2014, 07:53 PM   #2
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Is this real life or a movie plot?
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:11 PM   #3
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Was the mayor an asshole or something, why did this kid decide to set up an account to trash him?
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:47 AM   #4
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:08 AM   #5
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Just sickening, hope the kid gets some justice, completely unfair.

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Old 04-25-2014, 11:32 AM   #6
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i wonder what would have happened if the kid was brown/yellow.... ethnic minority..
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Old 04-25-2014, 11:41 AM   #7
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I skimmed the article, and it's not immediately clear to me whether the kid was IMPERSONATING the mayor, or made a clear PARODY/SATIRICAL twitter account. IMO, each category deserves a very distinct and different response...
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:28 PM   #8
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This guy is hardly a kid, he's 36, and it didn't start as a parody account. The investigation of "false impersonation of a public official" seem perfectly justified considering that exactly what the guy did. IMO it's not exactly abuse of power for the police to seize the guys computers when he was illegally impersonating the mayor.

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Originally Posted by PARANOiA-R34 View Post
I skimmed the article, and it's not immediately clear to me whether the kid was IMPERSONATING the mayor, or made a clear PARODY/SATIRICAL twitter account. IMO, each category deserves a very distinct and different response...
It's near the bottom of the second one, initially it was impersonation, then later changed to admit it was a parody account.

Quote:
Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said officers were investigating the creator of the Twitter account for false personation of a public official. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.

The @Peoriamayor account began in late February or early March with a photo of Ardis and a bio that stated he enjoyed serving the city and included his city email address.

The content of tweets, or entries on the account, ranged from ambiguous to offensive, with repeat references to sex and drugs — and comparisons of Ardis to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford as Ford’s drug use while in office became public.

By about March 10, the bio of the Twitter account was changed to indicate it was a parody account.
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Old 04-25-2014, 12:41 PM   #9
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This guy is hardly a kid, he's 36, and it didn't start as a parody account. The investigation of "false impersonation of a public official" seem perfectly justified considering that exactly what the guy did. IMO it's not exactly abuse of power for the police to seize the guys computers when he was illegally impersonating the mayor.



It's near the bottom of the second one, initially it was impersonation, then later changed to admit it was a parody account.
Then the "kid" deserves what's coming to him. I initially thought it was a young person who was just making a satire account, but if it's an older, more mature (ostensibly) individual who is trying to impersonate and slander the mayor then IMO he deserves the punishment.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:28 PM   #10
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Legally, it wasn't considered impersonation which is why he's not being charged as such. He had his 1st Amendment rights, literally, trampled. This was an extreme overreaction due to the mayor's thin skin. The mayor, city manager, and judges are the ones that need to be punished. Severely.
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Old 04-25-2014, 04:33 PM   #11
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And then there's the fact that the warrant was issued with an added intent of "searching for cocaine, heroine, and other drug etc". Don't really see how that relates to Twitter but i'm trying to find a connection.
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Old 05-13-2014, 10:03 PM   #12
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Update: No charge other than possession remains, and the ACLU is going to sue, and make Daniel a rich man

Quote:
Twitter Parody Controversy in Peoria, Illinois American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois
In recent days, the ACLU of Illinois has received a number of inquiries from Peoria media about whether our organization intends to become involved in the matter concerning the response by Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and Peoria police to a Twitter account that sought to parody the Mayor. The ACLU of Illinois is very concerned about this matter. Parody of public officials is a long tradition in this country and in most democratic societies. It is a form of speech that enjoys a high level of protection under the First Amendment. Many elected officials, professional athletes, actors and celebrities are subjects of parody accounts on social media but this is the first instance, to our knowledge, in which a public official called on the power of the police to target those who author such accounts.

Political parody, according to some estimates, is at least 2,400 years old, dating back to the Greek dramatist Aristophanes’ critiques of Athenian strategy in the Peloponnesian War. Other notable parodies of political leaders and movements can be seen in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, the political cartoons of Thomas Nast (who created the modern symbols for our national political parties), up to the modern day, with Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, one of the most widely watched programs on cable television.

This parody never should have led to the procurement of a warrant, a search of a private home, the detention of any individual who resides in the residence and the seizure of electronic communication devices from the residence. Previously, we took steps to represent the interests of some of the persons affected. In late April, the ACLU acted on behalf of two individuals, Jon Daniel and Jacob Elliot, demanding that City police and the State’s Attorney immediately return all the cell phones, computer tablets, laptops and processors that were taken in the course of the search of these individual’s residence on April 15th. Those items were subsequently returned.

The ACLU of Illinois now represents Mr. Daniel, the creator of the Twitter parody. Mr. Daniel, like other parodists, has a First Amendment right to post these tweets. He was engaging in a time-honored tradition of poking fun at public officials — even when the public official doesn’t like it. Because Mr. Daniel’s activities were protected, they should never have led to a warrant and search of his home. The police activity in this case was unnecessary and contrary to both the First and Fourth Amendment protections to which he was entitled.

In the coming weeks, the ACLU of Illinois anticipates bringing legal action in support of Mr. Daniel against those officials who are responsible for the violations of his rights. We hope this action will send a strong signal to all that wrongful use of the police power to suppress protected speech, even when it is critical or makes fun of public officials is an abuse of power and is not acceptable.
Ars also posted an article today, adding some more info, and summarizing this debacle:
How a mayor?s quest to unmask a foul-mouthed Twitter user blew up in his face | Ars Technica
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