SWAT Raids for Parody Twitter Accounts? Sure, Why Not? SWAT Raids for Everybody!


Mayor Jim Ardis, douchebag.
Peoria Mayor's Office

Back in May, the mayor of Peoria, Illinois, put himself on the map by pushing police to raid the home of a person who had created a parody Twitter account that mocked him. The fake account made him appear to be a profane druggie (in other words, interesting). It was obviously not him, and police ultimately did not charge the guy, Jon Daniel, with any crimes, but they did arrest Jacob Elliot at the home for marijuana possession.

Elliot's attorney is trying to get the case tossed out and the warrant declared invalid. The judge just declined last week, determining that the police did have probable cause to search the home because it was the address where the computer that made the parody account was located. According to the Journal Star in Peoria, the judge is, however, skeptical of the police looking under a pillow and closet in Elliot's room for their search for technology to tweet with, which is where they found his stash. The judge is going to make the police explain why they searched there in October, so it's still possible that the judge may suppress the evidence itself. The police did not have a warrant to search for drugs, just things related to pretending to be a very naughty mayor.

As for the raid itself, Freedom of Information requests got journalists copies of the e-mails between Mayor Jim Ardis and the Peoria police. Despite the judge ruling the raid and warrant valid, the police told Ardis in clear terms prior to the raid that no crimes had been committed. The police knew going in that the raid was bogus, went through with it anyway, and a judge upheld the warrant for probable cause. There's a joke about how a grand jury will convict indict a ham sandwich, but is there a similar joke about how a judge will approve a search warrant for just about anything?

Meanwhile the American Civil Liberties Union is suing Peoria and Ardis on behalf of Daniel over the absurd abuse of the man and his home.