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Peoria Mayor Sends Police to Track Down Twitter Parodist

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Jim Ardis
Peoria Mayor's Office

Politicians can be a thin-skinned bunch. You'd think they'd let insults roll off their backs given how much power they have over the lives and livelihoods of others. But if you have all that power, why bother letting insults roll of your back when you can use that power to disproportionately punish people? 

Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, ordered police to track down whoever was responsible for a parody Twitter account mocking him.

As a result, police raided a West Bluff home, seized property, and detained three people for questioning. The Twitter account, @PeoriaMayor, has been suspended. According to the Journal Star, the account had all of 50 posts and an equal number of followers. The Twitter profile apparently did not initially indicate that it was a parody account, but added that label in early March.

The label was hardly necessary, though, to prevent reader confusion. The Journal Star explains that "police were informed of the account by Ardis on March 12. The tweets implied 'Mayor Ardis utilizes illegal drugs, associates with prostitutes and utilized offensive inappropriate language,' according to an affidavit filed for the warrant." Who would actually believe such tweets were coming from the mayor? Well, maybe residents of Toronto.

Nevertheless, police raided this home and intend to charge whoever was responsible for the account for false impersonation of a public official. The police chief also doesn't think it was obvious the account was a parody and thinks the impersonator "went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor."

TOTALLY NOT JIM ARDIS, GUYS!
Twitter

In the end, they didn't arrest anybody for running the Twitter account, but they did charge a guy with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, so that should allow them to justify the whole thing. They seized all things digital, including iPhones and two Xboxes. Hope nothing goes missing from the evidence locker! (To the Peoria police chief: That was a joke.)

And of course, in the comments under one of the Journal Star stories, somebody has registered as "Not Jim Ardis" to engage in more mockery, including posting a picture of the mayor with a tiny Hitler mustache. There's also a new Twitter account. There is even less chance of victory in the war against parody than there is in the war on drugs.

UPDATE: Over at Vice, Justin Glawe knows the people involved in the parody account and reports on their fears. He also highlights some of the problems with the police department there. It's worth a read.

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  1. It’s thin-skinned bitches, all the way down.

    1. There’s actually nothing surprising about this police raid at all, because if we don’t speak up for everybody’s rights, we better be ready for our own rights to be trampled on when we least expect it. It starts with criminalizing deadpan satire in the form of “Gmail confessions,” and from there it moves to criminalizing Twitter parodies. See the documentation of the leading American “criminal satire” case at:

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      and consider, in particular, the NACDL’s statement that if certain individuals “feel aggrieved by online speech with academic value, they have remedies in tort,” rather than in criminal courts.

      http://raphaelgolbtrial.files……-brief.pdf

      The “Gmail confession” case, despite being widely reported on in the press, has been ignored by nearly every legal commentator in the country, so it’s not at all surprising that the police now feel free to go after the creators of Twitter accounts embarrassing to wealthy and powerful members of the community, whether they be politicians, university presidents, or anyone else ordinary people might choose to mimic and mock on the Internet.

  2. I’m sorry, how is the mayor still in office?

    1. Protected by union.

    2. The guy is a union plant, just like his father was. He ran unopposed in his third term and won 90+% of the vote in his second term against a nobody candidate. He has used his political power to stop Wal-mart and basically is a complete lefty. Illinois has become a 1-party state, with Democrats running as Republicans in any place where they had competition. Basically, the same machine runs both parties in Illinois.

  3. Soooooooo… some judge issued a warrant? For what offense, exactly? False impersonation is a real thing? More real than the First Amendment, I guess.

    1. FTA:

      Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard said officers were investigating the creator of the Twitter account for false personation of a public official. The offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.

      Apparently “Congress shall make no law” doesn’t mean what it says.

      1. You see, it wasn’t congress who made the law, so that makes it all right, don’t it?

        /clueless streak.

    2. So, those SNL actors who play politicians better watch out if they say something that the Powers That Be don’t like…

      -jcr

      1. They pretty much do.

  4. This sounds pretty Brown/Black Shirt type behavior to me.
    Do we know if Ardis has an actual twitter account so we can ask if he understands the consequences of his actions?

  5. Is the #JimArdisFucksSheep# still available?

    1. Some people fuck sheep.

      Jim Ardis is a person.

      Given the information above, which of the following is true?:

      a) Jim Ardis does not fuck sheep.

      b) Jim Ardis may fuck sheep.

  6. No Illinois Nazi alt-text? Are the Blues Brothers really dead?

    1. No. They’re on a mission from God.

  7. Sounds like satire doesn’t play in Peoria.

    1. They ran it up the flag pole and he didn’t salute.

  8. As the Queen of England, I am outraged!

  9. JArdis@peoriagov.org

    The email address of one aforementioned thin-skinned biotch.

    1. Quick question: What does JARDIS stand for?

      _____ And Relative Dimension In Space

      1. Jingoism?

      2. I wish to withdraw my less topical first response and replace it with Jews

    2. The auto-reply to my witheringly sarcastic email included the mayor’s home phone number: 309-692-1149. Feel free to flood his voice mail.

    3. Sending him various pictures of the butthurt subject will get the message across.

  10. I updated with a link to a piece up over at Vice by somebody who knows the players involved and gives some background about problems with the police out there.

  11. So why hasn’t Bloomberg sent people to fetch that guy who has the Spanglish Twitter profile of him?

    https://twitter.com/ElBloombito

    1. Because compared to the mayor of Peoria, Bloombert is relaxed and easygoiong?

      1. Well, we all know that Doomberg has already secured his place in Heaven. Not sure about this Ardis character though.

    2. Thanks for the tip – that’s hilarious! The taxpayers of Peoria are going to suffer and pay for this nazi ardis’s tyranny

  12. “Best ‘Stashe Graffito” winner, 2014!

  13. Is his political party affiliation some kind of big secret? Ive looked for an hour and cant find anything.

    1. Most city government elections are nonpartisan.

    2. He is Republican – I had to dig quite a bit to find that out.

      1. Now you know why Democrats run the fucking state. The only choices are thievery or tyranny.

        1. The guy is a union plant, just like his father was. He ran unopposed in his third term and won 90+% of the vote in his second term against a nobody candidate. He has used his political power to stop Wal-mart and basically is a complete lefty. Illinois has become a 1-party state, with Democrats running as Republicans in any place where they had competition. Basically, the same machine runs both parties in Illinois.

        2. It looks like they got both. “Neither” probably isn’t one of the choices.

  14. Just read the comments on the original article and one poster listed the statute about “impersonating a public official”. If his info is accurate even that flimsy rational for a warrant is invalid as it has to be done IN PERSON to be a crime. Ignorance of the law is no excuse…

    1. I read the warrant, there is also within the warrant a list of drugs they believe to be present, based on a photograph of a hand with a razor blade cutting up a white powder. This is really flimsy, and makes me believe that the judges just rubberstamped the 3 warrants.

      1. It’s not a huge town. I imagine they play golf together or, fuck sheep together, maybe.

  15. It’s always hard for me to believe that politicians are this stupid, but they certainly can be so. Most people would know that using city power to track down and raid the suspect will do exactly the opposite of what the want, in that a) it will be publicized very far outside their region (Reason, LA Times, etc), and b) it has spurred a series of parody twitter tags that are now making this mayor look even more stupid.

    I guess one should never underestimate the level of stupid to which a politician can aspire.

    1. I’m going to posit that Hanlon’s razor, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” doesn’t apply to pols. It’s always an inseparable mix of both.

  16. What BS, this mayor and the Police Chief and the cops involved should all be arrested for civil rights violations. The Judge who issued the warrant should be disbarred. What a disgrace, talk about a gross abuse of power!

    1. They were probably shocked the guy turned out to be Caucasian.

  17. Raiding people for twitter accounts now? How about we click the block button like adults?

  18. How many more good people’s lives will be wasted fighting for their naturally given rights to freedom of speech in this country? Wasn’t 26,000 dead by 1783 enough?

    Men like this are the reason why the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  19. Men like this are the reason why the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

  20. So does the First Amendment contain freedom of speech for parodies or is this a criminal act requiring investigative police work to track down the felon?

  21. This Man (?) does not have the mentality to be a Mayor. The social media and its format, is not to be taken as the truth, and everyone should realize that. It is a Freedom to have to speak freely without consequences. If there are consequences,it is NOT Freedom. Pity

  22. He had to use the police because he doesn’t control the IRS and the FBI.

    1. He had to use to the police because the Peoria police department is full of shit and shit-dicks like to shit on citizens and into the mouth of Jim Ardis.

  23. What could the charge to justify police seizure possibly be? It’s NOT ILLEGAL to make fun of someone in the public eye!

  24. A picture of a couple of people butt-fucking each other with the mayors face and the judges face on them would be an appropriate response.

  25. Call Jim Ardis. Let him know what you think. Home Phone: (309) 692-1149

    1. Um, impossible. I am Jim. Ardis. And I love to eat shit. I love to crawl into my local police department and become their shit bowl. Cops love to shit in my mouth, impersonator. Because cops are full of shit.

  26. So now instead of 50 followers, the whole world knows what an idiot he is. Gotta love that freedom of speech!

    1. I am Jim Ardis. I love turds. And idiot cops who can shit huge piles.

  27. What a load of horse puckey. Freedom of expression is a sham, a joke, a parody, even! In Louisiana, a person posted satirical pictures and commentary on facebook about some public figures, as well as some not so nice history that the yokels would like to forget, and this person was arrested for felony cyberstalking and defamation. This person also contacted Reason and NY Times and other media fakes, and they DID NOTHING. On the 50th anniversary of NY Times v. Sullivan, the Times did a self-congratulatory piece of puffery about their place in the evolution of American free speech laws. I commented on the site and it was removed. Yeah- how’s your free speech workin’ out for ya? Naivete runs the show in this cesspool, hand in hand with a burning dog-crap bag of stupid. Freedom is a joke, an illusion, in America, and especially in the South. For most American sheeple, freedom only means the freedom to fuck who you want and to buy stupid shit. Deluded assholes, the lot of you.

  28. And to suggest that the police state is here, now, will only get you derision. Obviously the mayor hadn’t heard about the First Amendment. Not that it matters, politicians and the government(s) in general run rough shod over the U.S. Constitution and don’t have a clue as to what a real inalienable rights is, and that includes the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “That which is not expressly permitted, if forbidden. (All hail the Imperial Government… Dissenters will be shot!)”

    Oh yes. One last thing. In America we are free–free to do whatever the government allows us to do.

  29. Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, is a fucking human ass gape that has just been fucked by 10 crips with 10 inch dicks. His fucking face is so goddamned stupid and gaped that Websters considered using his fucking face next to the definitions of stupid and gaped.

  30. Jim Ardis, mayor of Peoria, Illinois, has shit for a dick. And his police minions all have shit dicks. So Peoria Ill is where people go to get dicked by shit. Shit poked deep into their starfishes while these absurd neanderthals spray shitty semen on constitutional rights. Peoria, Illinois is a shit palace where American values and citizens are sprayed with shitty semen.

  31. I am Jim Ardis. I am the mayor of Peoria, Illinois. I want my face to be fucked by your turds. Please call me. Because as the mayor of Huge Black Penis, Illinois… I mean Peoria, Illinois I want YOUR shit down my throat. Call CraigLi, they know my number… I’m tired of my cops shitting down my throat cuz they are all stupid and mislead… I need some real progressive shit semen to hit my larynx… I await thee.

  32. ‘False imersonation of a public official’?!?

    Does this mean there might be situations where it IS legal to impersonate a public official?

    1. I am Jim Ardis. I wish to be immersed in shit. I am shit so shit is wonderful to immersed in. Shitty tanks of shit. Maybe they should call this the Jim Ardis Box. Where people go to relax in pure shit pooped from police department assholes.

      1. I nominate you to write the Urban Dictionary definition of “Jim Ardis(n)” and/or “ardis(v)”.

        1. Jim Ardis(v): See “butthurt”

  33. How was it the mayor could get the physical address of someone who has a twitter account? This is very disturbing to me.

  34. He ran unopposed in his third term and won 90+% of the vote in his second term against a nobody candidate

  35. we better be ready for our own rights to be trampled on when we least expect it

  36. This is actually an unique way to use technology to track the person responsible…If we have then why not use it…Very nice move by the Mayor indeed..Kudos..

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