Mayor orders police raid of critic’s home over parody Twitter account

Repression might play in Peoria, but it’s getting panned by First Amendment experts and social media critics.

The mayor of Peoria, Ill., is catching fire from around the country after his police department raided a home last week to catch a Twitter user who set up a parody account, according to Fox News.

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis

Citing the local Journal Star, Fox reported police officers armed with a search warrant entered a Peoria home where the man suspected of setting up the account lived, seizing personal computers and smart phones to find the person who set up an account #peoriamayor, that contained postings about illegal drug use and prostitution.

The charge on the warrant was impersonating a public official – a law intended to prevent people from being victimized by others pretending to be police officers; not intended for political suppression.

The postings were meant as a joke, the man who set up the account said. But Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, a Republican, didn’t think they were funny.

First Amendment scholars and Twitter users don’t think the raid was something to joke about either. There were no arrests in connection with the account, but a man who lived in the home – who did not set up the account — was charged with possession of marijuana, according to Fox.

Laura Bush shows ‘pure class’
in message to Clintons

The man who did set up the account was detained and questioned but released, according to Fox.

First Amendment attorneys said it was troubling.

“It chills people’s First Amendment rights to criticize officials,” Georgetown University law professor Angela Campbell told Fox. “Whether it’s through parody or just calling somebody a jerk.”

Loyola Law School professor Aaron Caplan also criticized the raid.

“This absolutely raises concerns from me. Under the Constitution, you can criticize people in power,” he told Fox. “It’s how you can tell the difference between a democracy and a police state. And you can do it through humor.”

Twitter users, as you might expect, were outraged.

No, you can’t in the long run.

But men with guns banging on your door make a pretty powerful argument in the short run.

And that’s one argument — political speech versus police state tactics — that should be happening in a place called America.



Please help us! If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to BPR to help us fight them. Now is the time. Truth has never been more critical!

Success! Thank you for donating. Please share BPR content to help combat the lies.


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

PLEASE JOIN OUR NEW COMMENT SYSTEM! We love hearing from our readers and invite you to join us for feedback and great conversation. If you've commented with us before, we'll need you to re-input your email address for this. The public will not see it and we do not share it.

Latest Articles