Parody Twitter account about mayor prompts police raid on house

18 Apr 2014

Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis

Police officers raided a house in Peoria, Illinois, in connection with a parody Twitter account of the town’s mayor, Jim Ardis, and in what the local police described as an “internet crime”.

The account going under the handle @Peoriamayor had been posting a number of tweets making fun of the local mayor and now it seems that either the mayor himself or the local police force haven’t taken too kindly to the tweeter’s sense of humour.

According to the local news outlet, the Peoria Journal Star, a full unit of the local police force raided the house from where the IP was located and officers seized all electronic devices in the house.

The only person in the house at the time was 27-year-old Michelle Pratt, who denied any link to the account. “They just asked me about the Twitter account, if I knew anything about it. They brought me in like I was a criminal.”

Two other residents from the house were arrested and charged on drug offences arising from the search.

According to US law, false personation of a public official is a Class A misdemeanour punishable by a fine of up to US$2,500 and even up to one year in jail.

Up until the account’s removal, it included regular messages suggesting Ardis had an alcohol and drug problem, among other negative tweets.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic