Mayor Jim Ardis is doubling down when it comes to his response to a Twitter account that depicted him as a sexual deviant and a drug user.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against Ardis, the City of Peoria, and several other officials for cracking down on the creator of @peoriamayor. The so-called parody account, created by Jon Daniel, featured references to cocaine use, sex, and a litany of swear words, all using Ardis' name.
In March, Ardis had police aggressively investigate who was behind @peoriamayor, claiming the feed was stealing his identity and falsely impersonating a public official. The investigation led to the April 15 raid of Daniel's home, in which several electronic items were confiscated and one of his roommates, Jacob Elliott, was arrested for pot possession. Elliott still faces drug charges.
Daniel was never charged with a crime, but Ardis and the city have come under fire for the whole ordeal. The ACLU claims Daniel's First and Fourth amendment rights were violated, and is seeking an injunction in addition to unspecified monetary damages. The ACLU and Daniel outlined the lawsuit at a news conference Thursday morning.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Ardis maintained it is he, not Daniel, who is the real victim in the ordeal.
WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE
"When originally created, the information posted on the Internet made no mention of parody. The person used my official picture, the city logo in the background, my contact address, and contact information," Ardis said.
He also reiterated his claim that the media has been one-sided in reporting the controversy by continuing to reference @peoriamayor as a "parody." He challenged the media to display the obscenity-laden tweets sent out by @peoriamayor, and proceeded to read a selection of them aloud.
Ardis said he is exploring false light and defamation lawsuits against the people responsible for @peoriamayor, including the site that hosted the offensive comments.
"I will protect my rights, and the rights of my family, at all costs," Ardis said.
Ardis said he would not issue any more statements about the pending litigation, nor will he answer anymore requests for comment on the topic. He declined to take any questions at the news conference. A transcript of his full statement is here (it also contains explicit language).