Last year, 29-year-old Jon Daniel created @peoriamayor, a twitter account that parodied Mayor Jim Ardis as a foul-mouthed, booze swilling, drug taking buffoon with a predilection for prostitutes. It was a sloppily written, immature joke, featuring tweets like "...Who stole my crackpipe?" and "If you don't like Peoria and u wanna sit here and bitch about den leave." Daniel says it was meant as a joke for his friends.
Jim Ardis's office, however, found it serious enough to demand a police investigation into the account, which resulted in a raid on Daniel’s house in April and the arrest of one of his housemates for marijuana possession. Now Daniel is suing the Mayor for violating his civil rights.
Ardis is unrepentant, saying he is looking into countersuing Daniel for defamation, because he believes that the twitter account could have been mistaken for his actual Twitter account.. Still, the account tweeted infrequently, had under 100 followers and would have gone completely ignored, were it not for the Mayor’s office pressing the Peoria police to investigate, resulting in the April raid.
As anyone who has ever used the internet could predict, Ardis became a victim of the Streisand Effect, being that there are now dozens of parody Peoria Mayor twitter accounts.
(some of the many parody Jim Ardis twitter accounts)
Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard passed on the information found in the raid to the mayor, writing he doubted that this account would meet the legal threshold for a defamation suit. “I’m not sure if it would support a civil suit for defamation of character. I’m not an expert in the civil arena but my recollection is that public officials have very limited protection from defamation.”