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Beware Using Parody Twitter Accounts to Mock Public Officials

The mayor of Peoria, Illinois recently found himself in a public relations nightmare after he sent his local police to arrest persons responsible for a parody Twitter account

Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, ordered police to track down whoever was responsible for a parody Twitter account mocking him.

As a result, police raided a West Bluff home, seized property, and detained three people for questioning. The Twitter account, @PeoriaMayor, has been suspended. According to the Journal Star, the account had all of 50 posts and an equal number of followers.

Instead of apologizing for his faux pas, the mayor has doubled down on his stupidity.

“I still maintain my right to protect my identity is my right,” Ardis said in an interview with theJournal Star before the council meeting.

“Are there no boundaries on what you can say, when you can say it, who you can say it to?” Ardis said. “You can’t say (those tweets) on behalf of me. That’s my problem. This guy took away my freedom of speech.”

The mayor later blamed the media, for not taking his side and all:

Ardis said the situation provides an opportunity to discuss the proper limits of commentary on social media. He also said the news media is responsible, in part, for the problem.

“You’re the ones responsible for getting full information, but not to spin it in the way you want to spin it,” Ardis said to a Journal Star reporter. “To make us look stupid.”

Luckily, the story has a happy ending:

State’s Attorney Jerry Brady said today the originator of the parody account will not face charges and furthermore said that the fake tweets are not violations of the state’s law against impersonating public officials.

At least some public officials in that area actually enjoy doing their job.