On March 9, 2014, a Peoria, Illinois short-order cook named Jonathan Daniel, now 30, launched a Twitter account using the handle @peoriamayor. On or around March 12, 2014, he labeled it as a “parody account.” Its content “ranged from ambiguous to offensive, with repeat references to sex and drug use,” the Peoria Journal Star wrote. (Sounds great!)
The actual mayor of Peoria is Jim Ardis, a Republican. Jim Ardis did not like Jonathan Daniel’s funny fake mayor account. On April 15, 2014, multiple police officers raided Jonathan Daniel’s home on the pretense of investigating him for the crime of “false personation of a public official.” Said the Peoria police chief of the account, which, again, was labeled with the word parody: “It appears that someone went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor.”
Daniel wasn’t home at the time of the raid; police arrested him at the restaurant where he worked. But no actual charges were ever filed against him, and he sued the city on the grounds that, legally speaking, it appears to be run by a gang of dopes who wouldn’t know the First Amendment from a hole in the ground. On Wednesday, the New York Times reports, the city announced it would pay Daniel $125,000 to settle his case.
“The city said it believed that it would have ultimately won in court,” the Times writes. Fire your city officials, Peoria.