When a SWAT team broke down Jacob Elliott’s door at his home in Peoria, Illinois, he had no idea what he had done wrong. Back in April the four SWAT cops who invaded Elliott’s house said they were looking for the what they called the “source of a parody Twitter” feed that had upset the town’s mayor.
One of Elliott’s housemates, Jon Daniel, created a fake Twitter account, @peoriamayor. It made the real-life mayor, Jim Ardis, so angry – with claims that he was immersed in make-believe drug binges and sex orgies – that the mayor literally had the police dispatched to come after him.
To make matters more problematic, SWAT cops found marijuana and related paraphernalia, then slapped Elliott with felony charges of marijuana possession.
Now, a Peoria judge just ruled this week that the police were right to raid Elliot’s house.
Why? The judge claims that a “false personation” law making it illegal to pass yourself off as any public official, justified the militarized SWAT response.
Judge Thomas Keith said that there was “probable cause” that police would find Twitter feed on computers or flash drives, and thus they hadcarte blanche to rip the house apart and prosecute for anything illegal they found therein.
The fake social media account, however, was impossible to prosecute Daniel for, as the local prosecutor admitted that “false personation” can only be committed in the real world, rather than on the Internet.
“You can’t do terrorist type of things or threaten people. But a simple joke, a parody, mocking somebody, that’s obviously not illegal,” Daniel said to the Associated Press.
But Elliott still is being prosecuted for the marijuana charge, even though the original police raid was more or less concocted.
Article by Jackson Marciana VIA CCN