Ilinois Mayor Jim Ardis Joins The War Against Free Speech: Police Raid Home Of Twitter Parodists
MAYOR Jim Ardis of Peoria, Illinois, has no sense of humour. If you parody him on the internet, he will be upset.
Ilinois police raided a house suspected to be housing someone who was parodying Ardis on the Twitter account @Peoriamayor. The seven police officers on the raid found three people in the residence. They grabbed them all. They then visited two more housemates at their places of work, and brought them in for questioning.
Michelle Pratt, 27, was one alleged tweeter seized by the Peoria Police Department. She tells the Journal Star:
“They just asked me about the Twitter account, if I knew anything about it… They brought me in like I was a criminal. They said they had a search warrant and took all the electronic devices that had Internet access. They said there had been an Internet crime that occurred at this residence.”
Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard, who is – incredibly – not a work of a skilled parodist, says his anti-free speech force are investigating misdemeanour charges of impersonating a public official, which carries a maximum one-year jail term and $2,500 fine. He tells the Southern Illinoisan that “appears that someone went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor.”
Want to see one of the tweets that shoes great cunning in pretending to be the mayor? Here’s goes:
The Star adds:
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.
No arrests in connection to the account were reported. One resident was booked on marijuana-possession charges.
Anyone who feels like lampooning the idiotic mayor and his goons has been warned. You’ll have to try harder….