On the surface, it seems absurd.
Is someone really suing the sheriff of Walton County, the highest ranking Constitutional officer in the county, and other members of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office because he is not allowed to comment on the WCSO Facebook page? In federal court no less?
As John McEnroe used to so famously yell, you cannot be serious. (That’s an old school tennis reference for those of you who don’t know who John McEnroe is.)
Wether you think it is absurd or not, it is happening.
Former Walton County resident Christopher Randall Davis is suing Sheriff Joe Chapman and other members of the sheriff’s department for allegedly violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights. The suit is based, in large part, on Davis being blocked from the WCSO Facebook page after proclaiming his support for Chapman’s opponent in the 2016 Republican primary, then Monroe Public Safety Director Keith Glass.
Yes, shockingly, this goes back to the 2016 Republican primary.
I mean, voters want the sheriff chasing down the bad guys and putting them away, right? That’s the deal they made when a majority of them elected him for the first, second, third and fourth time.
Do they really care how members of his department, because Chapman will tell you he knows about as much about Facebook as Bill Belichick, handle the WCSO Facebook page?
I’m not sure a lot of people in Walton County do.
The question is, will the courts?
There is some precedent here. President Donald Trump, for example, was sued by the Knight First Amendment Institute and others because he and/or members of his staff were accused of deleting Twitter posts from the presidential Twitter page they didn’t particularly like. Guess what? The plaintiffs won because the court last year ruled everyone should have access to government sponsored or sanctioned social media.
I find the ruling absolutely insane, but I also understand the logic and how this type of interaction with a public, elected official could fall under the protection of the First Amendment.
So now that the Twitter-verse is out the way, we will find out whether not we have a constitutional right to Facebook.
This is the world we live in today, folks.
What does John McEnroe say again?
You cannot be serious.