It’s time for Peoria to capitulate. That’s the tone of a recent op-ed in the Illinois city’s main newspaper, the Peoria Journal-Star, after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced plans to sue over the town scandal dubbed “Twittergate.”
Angry backlash shows that online overreach won’t “play in Peoria.”
Peoria came to national attention over the last few weeks in the wake of a police raid on a local home, sparked by nothing more threatening than a foul-mouthed Twitter account opened in the mayor’s name. Though the account had less than 50 followers, City Hall asked the police to investigate. Despite initially finding that no laws had been broken, the police changed their minds and obtained four search warrants, ultimately raiding a University Street home in a search for the account owner. (They found some marijuana and plenty of electronic gadgets, which they planned to search for evidence.)
The local state’s attorney declined to prosecute the case, though, saying the statute in question didn’t apply. Now the ACLU plans to sue the city over violations of the First and Fourth Amendments (free speech and unreasonable search and seizure, respectively).