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A man from Ohio who was arrested in 2016 for creating a parody Facebook page for his local police department is suing Parma City for violation of his civil rights and wants the Supreme Court of the United States to take his case.
His lawsuit against the city was dismissed by a federal judge and his attempt to appeal the decision was also rejected.
Anthony Novak was arrested in 2016 for creating the page and spent four days in jail. He was later acquitted of the charge of computer usage that disrupted police functions.
“I made something that was completely legal. I was allowed to make a parody page about the police,” Novak told ABC. “My image was blasted all over the news, and I didn’t do anything wrong.”
After being arrested, his home was also raided.
“Nearly a month after Novak had deleted the parody account, police arrested him, searched his apartment, seized his phone and laptop, and jailed him for four days,” his appeal read.
We obtained a copy of Novak’s appeal to the Supreme Court for you here.
In his latest appeal, he argues that in his case, the local police are not entitled to “qualified immunity,” a provision that protects government officials from liability over constitutional violations.
Novak argues that qualified immunity does not apply in his case because he was charged based on speech. The lawsuit notes that he was attacked based on speech, arguing that parody is protected speech, and, therefore, his constitutional rights were violated.
However, according to the city, the page Novak created was too close to the page he was parodying.
In support of Novak, the satirical website The Onion filed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court.
We obtained a copy of that for you here.
“The Onion cannot stand idly by in the face of a ruling that threatens to disembowel a form of rhetoric that has existed for millennia, that is particularly potent in the realm of political debate, and that, purely incidentally, forms the basis of The Onion’s writers’ paychecks,” the brief stated.