If you’ve ever been the victim of online harassment and have tried to get the police to intervene you’ve probably been told that, “There’s nothing we can do.” It seems that police departments are entirely powerless when it comes to tracking down online miscreants. Except when somebody online criticizes the police. When that happens they seem to have no problem tracking the person down and sending heavily armed men to kick in their door at oh dark thirty:
AFTER A WATCHDOG BLOG repeatedly linked him and other local officials to corruption and fraud, the Sheriff of Terrebone Parish in Louisiana on Tuesday sent six deputies to raid a police officer’s home to seize computers and other electronic devices.
Sheriff Jerry Larpenter’s deputies submitted affidavits alleging criminal defamation against the anonymous author of the ExposeDAT blog, and obtained search warrants to seize evidence in the officer’s house and from Facebook.
Isn’t it funny how the police are more than capable of identifying anonymous bloggers when they’re the ones being criticized? Things are a bit different for people in the big club.
This is another example of the legal system being used to punish dissent. The First Amendment supposedly covers the right to protest. If your police department is corrupt you’re supposed to have the right to point that out. If you simply don’t like what your police department does you’re supposed to have the right to protest them. But here in the United Police States of America such activity can get your home raided, your computers stolen, and put you in a position where you have to spend money on a lawyer.
It should be noted that this incident isn’t unique:
This isn’t the first time that Louisiana law enforcement officers have challenged those who criticize them. In 2012, Bobby Simmons, a former police officer, was arrested and jailed on a charge of criminal defamation for a letter he wrote to a newspaper regarding another police officer. The charge was later dropped, and Simmons filed a civil suit alleging that his civil rights were violated.
If you’re harassing people online the police will leave you alone. If you’re exercising your supposed First Amendment right to protest the police they will find you and they will use the court system to punish you for being an uppity slave.