informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




An Introduction to Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand Everything
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Jun 17 2014, 1:23 AM Category: Politics/Corruption Source: Techdirt Print

Peoria Mayor Continues To Defend Police Raid Of Twitter User's Home, Threatens To Sue For Defamation

by Tim Cushing

Peoria mayor Jim Ardis has responded to the ACLU's announcement of its lawsuit against him (and several others) over the actions taken to shut down a parodic Twitter account. Ardis' "press conference" was really nothing more than him reading a prepared statement and refusing to answer any questions.

His statement shovels blame on the media, complains about having his "identity stolen" and goes long on pointing out that the Twitter account (or "site," as he prefers to call it) was not clearly marked as a parody at its inception. But the highlight by far is Mayor Ardis reading some of the tweets delivered by the account.



Ardis still seems to think he's completely right, but nearly everything he states is wrong.

First off, while the account wasn't marked as a parody when it first went live (March 9th), it had been by three days later (March 12th). Despite this, the mayor and the police continued their hunt of the account's owner. This hunt continued even after they managed to convince Twitter to suspend the account (March 20th).

Ardis repeats the claim that the account wasn't marked as a parody, as though that makes the entire month of police activity past the point of the account's shutdown (and six weeks past the point the account was marked as a parody by Jon Daniel, the account's owner) completely appropriate. Separately, while the lack of being marked as parody for three days may have violated Twitter's terms of service, it has no real bearing on the fact that it's protected speech. Mayor Ardis seems to think that unless something is marked as parody, it's not parody. But the point that many people were making, was that anyone reading the crazy statements on the Twitter feed would recognize it as obvious parody for being so extreme. In fact, having Mayor Ardis read out some of the tweets only seems to confirm the point. What he thinks is so conclusive as evidence that he's right, really only seems to prove the opposite: that the account was making statements so extreme and ridiculous that they were clearly parody, and not real.

Ardis also attacks the media for misrepresenting the facts. That's very hard to do when you're quoting police reports and police department/mayor's office emails directly. Since day one, the media has portrayed this event as Mayor Jim Ardis abusing his power to shut down a Twitter account he didn't like -- a portrayal that is borne out by the documents obtained from public records requests.

He also claims the media is being hypocritical by claiming the account was harmless while simultaneously refusing to print the "offensive" content of the tweets. This is his stupidest assertion. A Twitter account that did nothing but tweet out repeated profanities would be harmless while still being something most journalistic entities wouldn't print verbatim. Arbitrary standards for print are not legal standards for obscenity.

Either way, just because many people may find the account's tweets highly distasteful (and probably wouldn't retweet @grandma, etc.), it still doesn't make the speech less protected or Mayor Jim Ardis any more "right" about pursuing the person behind the account. Once the account was marked as parody, such that it complied with Twitter's terms of service, that should have been the end of it.

Justin Glawe, a Peoria native and friend of Jon Daniel who's been covering this case for Vice since the beginning, says that emails and comments made by an unnamed city official hint that Mayor Ardis may have believed the supposedly obscene account might be linked with the Peoria Journal Star.
[A]ccording to a source inside City Hall, the officials who aggressively pursued Daniel, the creator of the account, were also wrong in a much more mundane way: They thought I was behind @peoriamayor and assumed I worked for the local paper, the Journal Star...

In an email that was released because of a Freedom of Information Act request, Ardis asked his subordinates what “JS reporter” lived with Daniel, and a police official said he didn’t know. If the source in City Hall is correct, Ardis was convinced that reporter was me, and likely thought that by exposing me as the foul-mouthed fiend behind @peoriamayor he’d ruin my reputation as a journalist and that of the Journal Star in the process.
This adds a bit more background to the mayor's apparent disdain for the media. Glawe also points out that the braintrust behind the account shutdown not only seemed to have a poor grasp of the law (perhaps intentionally), but was also mystified by the technical aspects of dealing with an online social media platform.
At one point, some city officials and cops thought they could call Twitter to have @peoriamayor shut down, so it’s no surprise that they apparently couldn’t be bothered to google my name and find out who I was and whom I work for.
In related news, Peoria Police Chief Steve Stettingsgaard has stepped down to take a job with Caterpillar, Inc. While his entire tenure at the head of the PPD has been marked with controversy, there's no doubt this latest incident played a part in convincing him to exit the law enforcement business.

Bizarrely, Mayor Ardis hints he's looking at pursuing someone (Jon Daniel or possibly even Twitter itself) for "defamation," apparently forgetting the email conversation he had with Chief Stettingsgaard back on March 11th.
Mayor/Manager, I reviewed this matter with Detective Feehan. He is in the process of shutting down the account as you saw from my last email. This phony Twitter account does not constitute a criminal violation in that no threats are made. I'm not sure if it would support a civil suit for defamation of character. I'm not an expert in the civil arena but my recollection is that public officials have very limited protection from defamation.
If Ardis decides to pursue this, he'll just be adding to his list of highly-public debacles. His defensive press conference indicates he's unable and unwilling to learn from his mistakes. There's no case to be made here, especially if Ardis decides to go after Twitter itself for the actions of one of its users. But it appears Ardis has dignity to burn, even if most of it is riddled with self-inflicted wounds.

Jim Ardis Statement (PDF)





Latest Politics/Corruption
- Tennessee Town Passes Policy Banning Negative Comments About The Town's Government
- On Marijuana, Congress Giveth and Congress Taketh Away
- IRS Finally Examines Backup Tapes, Recovers 30,000 'Missing' Lois Lerner Emails
- Obama in 2006: I Have Stolen Ideas From Jon Gruber Liberally
- Video: Romney Praises Gruber at 2006 RomneyCare Signing Ceremony
- Obamacare Architect: "Lack of Transparency" Was Key to Fooling 'Stupid Americans'
- George W. Bush: I Don't Regret Waging War Against Iraq
- During Cold War, CIA And FBI Hired Over 1,000 Nazis As Spies, Limited Investigations Of Those Nazis









Comments 1 - 2 of 2 Add Comment Page 1 of 1
Anonymous

Posted: Jun 17 2014, 11:19 AM

Link
99170 Since when has any public official, large or small, ever learned from their mistakes? The more I watch whats going on in Washington the more convinced I am that politicians are completely divorced from reality.
Anonymous

Posted: Jun 22 2014, 11:56 PM

Link
99104 Police departments are corrupt all over the place. In this article we have a department that has been assisting cover up thefts and burglaries at an antique mall for almost a decade.

fwweekly.com/2014/03/26/antiques-and-angst/



Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

A Peace Officer Defies the "Blue Tribe": The Exile of Officer Cariol Horne - 12/19For Punitive Populists, "Comply or Die" IS The "Law" - 12/19Cop Stops Fellow Cop From Choking a Handcuffed Man, She Was Then Beaten and Fired - 12/18Thieves Yell "Police" Before Invading Home, Shooting and Robbing Resident - 12/18Baby Clings to Life After Flash-Bang Grenade Lands in His Crib - 12/20Sony Hack Reinvigorates Support for Privacy-Busting CISPA-Style Legislation - 12/19Reno 911 - Cop Psychology [Comedy] - 12/19Psychotic Vegas Cop Filmed Beating Man For Filming In Viral Video Queitly Hired By Another Dept. - 12/17

Rialto, CA Police Made to Wear Cameras, Use of Force Drops by Over Two-ThirdsCop Who Karate Chopped NY Judge In Throat Gets Off Scot-FreeFlorida Cop Smashes Compliant Woman's Face Into Car -- "Maybe Now You Can Understand Simple Instructions"VIDEO: Lapel Cam Reveals A Day In The Life Of A U.S. Police Officer (Tasing, Beating, Breaking & Entering, Stomping On Heads... and Laughing About It)Caught On Tape: Officer Sucker Punches Inmate In Face, Files Report Claiming 'Self Defense'Insult Person On Twitter, Go To JailSWAT Team Brings TV Crew To Film Raid Against Threatening Internet Critic -- Raids Innocent Grandma InsteadCop Karate Chops NY Judge In The Throat
(more)

 
Top