The Illinois man who made headlines when he was detained for parodying the town’s mayor on Twitter sued the Peoria politician and local police, claiming on Thursday that his civil rights were violated.
As part of the April raid, the authorities seized the mobile phone and laptop of the 29-year-old prankster, Jonathan Daniel, and reviewed their contents, which he says was in violation of his First Amendment rights. According to the suit (PDF) lodged in Illinois federal court:
From March 9 through March 19, 2014, Mr. Daniel tweeted from a Twitter account, @peoriamayor, which used a picture of Jim Ardis (“Ardis”), the mayor of Peoria, as the account’s avatar. Displeased with the content of the tweets, Defendants embarked on a plan to shut down the account and identify and punish its creator in violation of his constitutional rights. As part of Defendants’ plan, Peoria Police Department officers searched Mr. Daniel’s residence, seized his personal property, reviewed personal information on Mr. Daniel’s electronic devices and in his mail, and arrested, detained, and interrogated Mr. Daniel purportedly for the crime of false personation of a public official.
Daniel, the operator of the @peoriamayor handle shut down by Twitter after the city threatened a lawsuit, was initially accused of impersonating a public official in violation of Illinois law. The authorities never lodged charges, however.
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