As promised last month, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois has filed a lawsuit against the City of Peoria over a parody Twitter account.
The advocacy group is holding a news conference at the Pere Marquette at 11:00 a.m. Thursday to outline the suit regarding the city's reaction to @peoriamayor, a Twitter handle that depicted Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis as a drug user and a pervert.
The suit, which names several city officials including Ardis and former Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard, was filed Wednesday. It alleges the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Jon Daniel, the creator of @peoriamayor, were violated when the real Ardis ordered police to aggressively track down the person responsible for the account. The criminal investigation, carried out under the assumption that the operator of @peoriamayor was falsely impersonating a public official, ultimately led to a search of Daniel's home on April 15.
While Daniel was not arrested, nor was he ever charged with any crime, his roommate, Jacob Elliott, was taken into custody for pot possession. Elliott is still facing drug charges. In addition, several electronic items in the home were seized in the so-called "Twitter raid."
Specific damages being sought have not been confirmed. When the ACLU first told 1470 & 100.3 WMBD a lawsuit was in the works on May 13, spokesman Ed Yohnka said the goal was to send a message that the investigation, search, and seizure of property were wrong.
"It's something that needs to be redressed so that no other public official elsewhere ever thinks that this is an appropriate activity," Yohnka said.
Daniel himself is expected to issue statements and answer a few questions at the news conference. Joining him will be Harvey Grossman and Roshni Shakiri, legal director and staff counsel for the ACLU of Illinois, respectively.
Follow @1470wmbd on Twitter for live updates from the news conference.