The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the Monroe County Sheriff, for hiding Facebook comments critical of the Sheriff’s Department’s assistance in enforcing federal immigration law.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Ms. Christine Popp, alleges that the Sheriff’s practices consist of “hiding” comments posted by Facebook users that he believes to be unfavorable or critical of his positions, while simultaneously allowing comments that are favorable to or supportive of him to be viewed by the public. This represents viewpoint-based discrimination, in violation of the First Amendment to the Unites States Constitution.
Ms. Popp is a practicing immigration attorney who is critical of the Sheriff and the positions that his office has taken on immigration enforcement. Her comments on the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department Facebook account expressed her opinion and concerns, and were intended to inform the public about immigration law and the role that local officials may play in the enforcement of immigration law.
“The First Amendment protects people, who regardless of their views, attempt to hold the government accountable through expression,” said Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana Staff Attorney. “The Monroe County Sheriff’s Department’s silencing of citizens on Facebook who disagree with the department’s actions or policies is unconstitutional.”