Free Speech

A Man Fights Back After His Profane Rant About a Deputy Ended in Harassment Charges

Jon Goldsmith called a local deputy a "stupid sum bitch" on Facebook, so the deputy's superior charged Goldsmith with writing a threatening statement.


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on behalf of an Iowa man after he was charged with third-degree harassment over a profane Facebook rant about local law enforcement.

According to the lawsuit, Jon Goldsmith of Red Oak witnessed Adams County Sheriff's Deputy Cory Dorsey stop a motorist and conduct a drug dog search on a vehicle at a festival in July 2018. No drugs were found. Goldsmith also said he saw Dorsey body-slam another man. When Goldsmith later saw the man's mugshot on Facebook, he shared the picture in a post criticizing Dorsey.

Goldsmith called Dorsey out by name and accused him of being "butthurt" that the drug search was fruitless. He also called him a "stupid sum bitch" and offered to hire Dorsey to walk his dog and "pick up his shit" if he were fired over the incident.

That August, Sergeant Paul Hogan, Dorsey's supervisor, filed charges against Goldsmith. An affidavit formally accused Goldsmith of intentionally writing "a threatening and vulgar statement about Cory Dorsey on Facebook."

The charges against Goldsmith were dismissed in October after his attorney filed a motion to dismiss on First Amendment grounds.

"The actions taken against Mr. Goldsmith by Adams County are a textbook case of retaliating against someone for exercising their First Amendment rights," said ACLU Iowa Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen in a press release. "Police are not allowed to try to put people in jail because they annoy the police or say things the police disagree with—on social media or otherwise."

Goldsmith's situation draws interesting similarities to a Michigan case that was settled last year. When James Webb saw an officer handing someone a ticket in front of a gas station, he began to blast NWA's "Fuck tha Police." The officer ticketed Webb for a misdemeanor noise violation and later said he took issue with the word "fuck" being rapped in public, despite saying it himself several times prior. Webb faced a $500 fine and 93 days in jail, but was acquitted by a jury. 

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  1. Search for “The Freedom Paradox” on FB to see videos of 1A vs. police

    1. Thank you

      1. The only “paradox” here is the ACLU’s inappropriate decision to defend a man who would engage in such offensive conduct. In New York, the organization properly refrained from getting involved in our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case. New York’s aggravated harassment statute was, to be sure, declared “unconstitutional” in that case, because it allowed us to criminalize “annoying” speech—a tragic and inexplicable result, because that’s exactly what a harassment statute is supposed to do. The ACLU wisely stayed away from that mess, but now they are presenting themselves as big “free speech” defenders. Hopefully they will not get away with it. Have they forgotten that their only role, as far as the “First Amendment” goes, is to defend “easy” cases? States have the right to protect people from being annoyed, just like they have the right to protect them from “parody” that damages their reputations. We are rooting for Iowa here at NYU—and, by the way, I would like to make it clear that anyone who engages in “profane rants” here at our university, will be dealing with the law, one way or the other, harassment statute or no harassment statute. There are plenty of other statutes we can use, and we know how to find them.

  2. Jon Goldsmith called a local deputy a “stupid sum bitch on Facebook,”

    Yes, but where did he call the deputy a “stupid sum bitch on Facebook”?

  3. >>>”a threatening and vulgar statement about Cory Dorsey on Facebook.”

    none of those things were that, Red Oak, Iowa. one was a job offer.

  4. That August, Sergeant Paul Hogan, Dorsey’s supervisor, filed charges against Goldsmith.

    The county doesn’t have a competent district attorney’s office to review these charges before they’re acted on? Or before at least they get before a judge?

    1. offered to hire Dorsey to walk his dog and “pick up his shit”

      Yet, apparently, unlike shit, butthurt flows upstream.

  5. He also called him a “stupid sum bitch”

    It all adds up…

    1. Indeed. I thought truth was always a defense in a court of law.

    2. Stupid + Bitch = Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Cory Dorsey.

  6. “The actions taken against Mr. Goldsmith by Adams County are a textbook case of retaliating against someone for exercising their First Amendment rights,”

    You have the right to free speech
    As long as you’re not
    Dumb enough
    to actually try it

    From “Know Your Rights“, by The Clash

    1. no man with a living soul can be working for the Clampdown.

      1. Especially Julie, who’s been working for the drug squad.

  7. Criticizing an Officer of the Law??! I’m surprised they didn’t charge the guy with a Hate Crime!

  8. He didn’t get himself tazed or his dog shot? I’d call that a win.

    1. That comes later when they plant some drugs on him and taze him in the balls 20 times for resisting arrest.

  9. My brother told me a story decades ago, about a friend of his who was pulled over by a local cop. After receiving his citation, he asked the cop, “If I called you a SOB, you could arrest me and charge me with an offense, right?” Cop said “Yes, I could.”
    “But if I only THINK you’re an SOB, I haven’t violated any laws, correct?”
    “No, I can’t arrest you for what you think. You can think anything you want.”
    “Well, I THINK you’re an SOB.”

  10. By the way, all you “reasoners” seem to actively dislike cops. I’m wondering, how many of you are COPS? Wouldn’t you say we NEED cops? Then why don’t you shut up and BECOME one and make the world a better place. Til then, hush up.

    1. If we dislike cops, then why would we want to become cops?

      As for the need for cops, well maybe, but it would be good for any cops we do have to not be authoritarian assholes.

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  12. The ACLU defended a white person??? WOW!!

  13. Well, we now can confirm that that Sheriff’s Office contains more than one “stupid sum-bitch”.

  14. Words are violence now or ain’t you heard? It is what them college edumacated people are saying. Sounds like they be right when they says power corrupts or absolute power or something defended by attorney guys that ensure you will pay and the other guy has no liability at all plus you pay his salary.

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