The Illinois city that arrested a local man for parodying its mayor on Twitter said Monday that the prankster’s detainment wasn’t “unreasonable.”
The arrest of Jonathan Daniel by Peoria authorities in April made national headlines, and the 29-year-old cook sued in federal court, claiming civil rights violations.
In its first response to the lawsuit, the city of Peoria’s and Mayor Jim Ardis’ attorney told Ars that the mayor and city officials believed Daniel was breaching an Illinois law making it illegal to impersonate a public official. The mayor’s attorney said city officials got a judge to issue warrants from Twitter and Comcast to track down Daniel. In short, they were just following the law.
“We took every step in accordance with the law. They appropriately went to the court to obtain warrants. The court reviewed the statute and evidence and made a determination,” attorney James Sotos said in a telephone interview. “In the end, that’s a judge’s determination to issue a warrant or not. It’s not unreasonable that a person would look at that statute to see if there was a violation.”
The Illinois State’s Attorney, Jerry Brady, did look at the statute and declined to prosecute Daniel, saying false impersonation doesn’t count on the Internet and needs to be done in person.
As I like to keep reminding folks, everything the state does is legal. Gassing Jews was legal in Nazi Germany. Exterminating Kulaks in the USSR was legal. Pol Pot’s Killing Fields were legal.
And some small-town dictator can always find a pliable judge who will tell him that outrageous shit like this is legal, too.