Hyper-Sensitive Illinois Mayor Orders Police Raid Over Parody Twitter Account

Just yesterday, I wrote a post about how a South Carolina construction worker was fined $525 and lost his job for not paying $0.89 for a drink refill while working at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in downtown Charleston. The point was to emphasize how the law comes down with a devastating vengeance when an average citizen commits a minor crime, yet allows the super rich to loot and pillage with zero repercussions. There is now a systemic two-tier justice system operating in these United States, and the result will unquestionably be tyranny if the trend continues unabated.

The latest example of a lowly citizen being subject to a disproportionate use of the law, is Jon Daniel of Peoria, Illinois. Jon was behind a parody Twitter account that mocked Peoria mayor Jim Ardis, and his biggest mistake was not making it clear that it was a parody. As a result, Twitter had already suspended the account weeks ago. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

The tough guy mayor was so offended that a plebe would dare criticize his royal highness that he ordered a police raid on the home of Jon Daniel and his roommates. Peoria native, Justin Glawe wrote an excellent article on the subject for Vice. He writes:

Jon Daniel woke up on Thursday morning to a news crew in his living room, which was a welcome change from the company he had on Tuesday night, when the Peoria, Illinois, police came crashing through the door. The officers tore the 28-year-old’s home apart, seizing electronics and taking several of his roommates in for questioning; one woman who lived there spent three hours in an interrogation room. All for a parody Twitter account.

Yes, the cops raided Daniel’s home because they wanted to find out who was behind @peoriamayor, an account that had been shut down weeks ago by Twitter. When it was active, Daniel used it to portray Jim Ardis, the mayor of Peoria, as a weed-smoking, stripper-loving, Midwestern answer to Rob Ford. The account never had more than 50 followers, and Twitter had killed it because it wasn’t clearly marked as a parody. It was a joke, a lark—but it brought the police to Daniel’s door. The cops even took Daniel and one of his housemates in for in-depth questioning—they showed up at their jobs, cuffed them, and confiscated their phones—because of a bunch of Twitter jokes.

So the police raid on Daniel’s house wasn’t an isolated incident; it was just another case of the cops acting shady—and naturally, many in this town are raising serious questions and concerns over the use of taxpayer resources and manpower to find out who ran @peoriamayor.

Fortunately, this story does have a silver lining. Daniel’s original Twitter account was actually pretty unsuccessful, with only 50 followers by the time it was shut down. Mayor Jim Ardis should’ve just left well enough alone, but he couldn’t do that, and as a result of all the attention this story has received in the blogosphere, new parody accounts have emerged. The most successful one is @NotPeoriaMayor and the avatar is Jim Ardis with a Hitler mustache. See below:

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 2.02.57 PM

The best part is this account already has 7x the followers of the other one.

Lesson Learned: Don’t fuck with the Internet.

Full Vice article here.

The LA Times also covered the story, here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger

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14 Comments

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  1. As Illinois pension problem simmers like a defunct nuke
    Plant. Great link.

  2. Lesson isn’t learned until the City of Peoria ends up paying the kid whatever he would normally have made working as a slave for a corporation his whole life.

    Oh, and also, when the low-life mayor gives up his house to the kid.

  3. What kind of jackass chief of police raids a guy’s house because the mayor has his panties in a bunch? Why couldn’t he tell him to calm down and inform him that the police are not his personal servants?

  4. I think the mayor and police are being a little sensitive and just stupid for wasting their time on this what BOUT All the real unsolved crimes in are city, don’t waste police time on this worry about all the murders anD SHOOTINGS

  5. There’s actually nothing surprising about Twitter parodists being viciously tracked down by the police, because if we don’t speak up for everybody’s rights, we better be ready for our own rights to be trampled on when we least expect it. It starts with criminalizing deadpan satire in the form of “Gmail confessions,” and from there it moves to criminalizing Twitter parodies. See the documentation of America’s leading criminal-satire case at:

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

    and consider, in particular, the NACDL’s statement that if certain individuals “feel aggrieved by online speech with academic value, they have remedies in tort,” rather than in criminal courts.

    http://raphaelgolbtrial.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/raphael-golb-amicus-brief.pdf

    The “Gmail confession” case, despite being widely reported on in the press, has been ignored by nearly every legal commentator in the country, so it’s not at all surprising that the police now feel free to go after the creators of Twitter accounts embarrassing to wealthy and powerful members of the community, whether they be politicians, university presidents, or anyone else ordinary people might choose to mimic and mock on the Internet.

  6. If you can’t stand public criticism then don’t be a public figure. Get a real fucking job and stop being a pussy.

  7. I can’t believe no one’s brought up law suits be they criminal or civil. Its a very serious offense to use police as yr personal goon squad as it is fr the police to act on what they KNOW are unlawful commands. All of them need arrested, fired and fined. And they need to do time. I hope they don’t let this criminal skate on this.

  8. Nice of the mayor to leave such a concise, well-written reply. Maybe he hasn’t realized yet that he’s only continuing to make matters worse?

  9. As me posting this, there are 1,171 followers. Has anyone else noticed that one of the followers is @KingHarryReid ?

  10. It is amazing that so many politicians keep making the same mistakes over and over again. It is almost as if they have never read anything about history. Also, they need to understand the doing the same thing and expecting different results is a one of the definitions of insanity. Of course very few people believe politicians are sane anyway.

  11. I may have misread this article, but it seams to me that this individual committed libel and defamation. Without making the proper disclaimers, he has learned a vital lesson in law. I’m surprised no one on this thread understands that digital postings no way differs than posting the same content in your local (or national) newspaper! This guy learned a valuable lesson!

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