Ohio Man Previously Arrested for Facebook Parody Account Turns to Supreme Court to Take His Case

In 2016, Anthony Novak, a resident of Ohio, was arrested in 2016 for setting up a parody Facebook page for the police department in his city. Fast forward to 2023, Novak recently sued Parma City for violating his civil rights and wants the US Supreme Court to take on this case. 

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against the city and his move to appeal the decision was also thrown out. Back in 2016, Novak was arrested for setting up the page and was jailed for four days. Later on, Novak was acquitted of the charge of computer usage that tampered with law enforcement functions. 

“I made something that was completely legal. I was allowed to make a parody page about the police,” Novak said to ABC. “My image was blasted all over the news, and I didn’t do anything wrong.” 

After Novak’s arrest, law enforcement also raided his house.

“Nearly a month after Novak had deleted the parody account, police arrested him, searched his apartment, seized his phone and laptop, and jailed him for four days,” his appeal stated.

In Novak’s most recent appeal, he argues that local law enforcement cannot enjoy “qualified immunity” in this case. Qualified immunity is a provision that shields government officials from liability over unconstitutional actions they take.

Novak asserted that qualified immunity is not valid in his case due to how he was charged based on speech. The lawsuit called attention to how Novak was attacked based on speech. It argued that parody falls under free speech protections, which makes the actions taken against Novak unconstitutional. 

For its part, the city argued the page Novak set up resembled the police department’s page too closely. 

Tyrannical actions don’t just occur at the federal level. There are many busybodies at the local level who take pleasure in violating people’s civil liberties. For that reason, constant vigilance is needed. 

There are many would-be tyrants who get their political careers started at the local level. The best way to derail the launch of their political ambitions is by stopping them at the local level. 

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