Peoria mayor orders police raid over Twitter joke
Not one to tolerate Internet humor, Peoria mayor Jim Ardis sent police to raid the home of a suspected prankster who had set up a fake Twitter account that mocked Ardis.
The Twitter feed made inappropriate jokes and referenced drugs and sex in an attempt to portray Ardis as a Rob Ford-style party boy mayor. Ardis was not amused.
Twitter had suspended the account weeks ago, but the Peoria Police Department decided to investigate the matter anyway, according to The Los Angeles Times. Impersonating a public official is a misdemeanor that carries a one-year jail sentence.
Seven officers raided the Peoria, Illinois, home where the believe the account was first created. Five people were taken in for questioning.
“They just asked me about the Twitter account, if I knew anything about it,” said Michelle Pratt, a 27-year-old resident of the house, in a statement to the Journal Star. “They brought me in like I was a criminal.”
Police confiscated a number of electronic devices from the home.
“They said there had been an Internet crime that occurred at this residence,” said Pratt.
The Twitter account was eventually labelled as satire before it was taken down, but Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said the joke was neither obvious nor funny.
The account sent 50 tweets and had about 50 followers.
Police arrested one resident of the home, Jacob Elliott, on drug charges. No one has yet been charged with illegal tweeting.
Vice.com’s Justin Glawe evidently knows one of the people investigated over the parody account. That person, Jon Daniel, confessed to Glawe.
“Tell them my name. Tell them I did it,” he said in a statement to Vice.com. “But when they lock me up, tell them to tweet using the hashtag #freesleezyd.”
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