The ACLU of Illinois will provide legal representation for a Peoria man responsible for a Twitter account that parodied the Mayor of Peoria, Jim Ardis. Peoria police raided the home of Jon Daniel on April 15, seizing cell phones, computers and other items they suspected were related to the Twitter account. The ACLU of Illinois believes that parody is protected speech and that Daniel's Fourth Amendment rights were also violated. The Peoria Journal Star spoke with Communications and Public Policy Director Ed Yohnka:
But the organization was still “very concerned about the larger issue” of the police clamping down on protected speech. He said he could find no other example throughout the nation where a person’s home was raided due to a parody Twitter account. Parodies, the spokesman said, were part of a time-honored tradition in the United States dating back to the colonial days.
“It is a form of speech that enjoys a high level of protection under the First Amendment. Many elected officials, professional athletes, actors and celebrities are subjects of parody accounts on social media but this is the first instance, to our knowledge, in which a public official called on the power of the police to target those who author such accounts,” he said.