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Man Arrested for Facebook Page Parodying Police Sues Cops, Wants His Damn Xbox Back

Photograph: Getty

A Cleveland-area man acquitted of a felony cost for making a parody account of his native police division has filed a lawsuit towards town of Parma, two of its law enforcement officials, and a 3rd regulation enforcement official, alleging a violation of his civil rights.

Anthony Novak, 28, was arrested final yr for making a pretend Fb account known as “The Metropolis of Parma Police Division.”

Although it bore a placing resemblance to the precise Parma police web page, Novak’s account contained refined variations and comically inaccurate claims, which his attorneys used to efficiently argue that it was an apparent parody. A job itemizing posted by Novak, for instance, “strongly” inspired minorities to not apply. One other put up claimed the division provided abortion providers, and yet one more boasted a few regulation towards feeding the homeless. The place the true police wrote “We all know crime” in its about part, Novak wrote: “We no crime.”

An investigation was launched into the web page nearly instantly and Novak took it down lower than 12 hours after it was created. However Novak was collared a number of weeks later and slapped with a fourth-degree felony cost underneath Ohio’s “Disruption of Public Providers” statute. Throughout a four-day stretch within the metropolis jail, a SWAT staff raided his condo, confiscating his onerous drives, two cellphones, a laptop computer, and—await it—his Xbox 360 and Ps four.

The police division additional enlisted the help of the Ohio Web Crimes Towards Kids Process Power to go after Novak, although the fees introduced towards him had nothing to do with little one pornography.

After a jury returned a “not responsible” verdict in August 2016, Novak sued town. Amongst different claims, his attorneys argued that the statute underneath which he was arrested was overly broad and too obscure, basically granting authorities a license to arrest people engaged in First Modification actions. The swimsuit was reportedly dropped in January resulting from “deficiencies” within the grievance.

A new lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages and the return of Novak’s electronics, accuses the Metropolis of Parma and two law enforcement officials of “calculated and deliberate” retaliation towards Novak in response to constitutionally protected speech.

“Mocking our authorities officers is a elementary American proper,” the grievance says. “But on March 2, 2016, officers of the Parma Police Division launched a sham investigation towards a citizen as a result of he made enjoyable of them on Fb, abusing the State’s police powers and enlisting a child-pornography activity pressure to retaliate towards and silence his criticism.”

Novak isn’t the primary US citizen to be arrested for making a Fb account satirizing public officers—neither is he the primary to be acquitted. There’s the notorious Peoria, Illinois, case, by which a person was arrested for making a Twitter account mocking his city’s mayor. The acquitted man was awarded $125,000 in damages and legal professional’s charges final September in a civil swimsuit towards town for violating his First Modification rights.

Gizmodo reported on Friday Florida man named Ernesto Orsetti was arrested final week after making a Twitter account mocking a spokesperson for the Miami Seaside Police Division. The division’s police chief justified the arrest by arguing that Orsetti’s account was “threatening to wreck the fame of our excellent Public Info Officer, in addition to the Miami Seaside Police Division model.”

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