I’ve just added a new article to this webpage about a man who voiced an opinion on Facebook. He was arrested for his comments. The similarity struck me not only in how words were taken from a man using his right to speak his mind, but also that again police have overblown anothers free speech words.
Like lots of Americans, Robert Frese is not shy about expressing his views on the internet. Last year, in a comment on a newspaper’s Facebook page, he said a New Hampshire police officer who had given him a traffic citation was “a dirty cop.” The police chief, Mr. Frese added, was a coward who had covered up the matter.
Now, some of you may say since this was pointed at a specific person, actually two people, that this doesn’t correlate with police and prosecutors trapping young, naive men invoking their 4th amendment rights to free speech. Yet both of these scenarios, on social sites, are instances when someone is speaking out in what they feel is a ‘user safe’ space. Unfortunately that is not the case in this country. So I can see that point BUT…
Our president uses social media to attack people (among other things) on a regular basis. Right? Have the police gone to arrest him when he calls people names, calls them liars, slams their actions?
Wolf responded to the insult less than two hours later with a short barb that attacked both Mr. Trump and the first lady Melania Trump. “I bet you’d be on my side if I had killed a journalist. #BeBest,” wrote the comedian.
So if you are not within the government or law enforcement, and use social media to express your opinions about someone….then you can be arrested for it. But when the government or law enforcement makes derogatory, inflammatory, libel comments about certain citizens? Or post names and photos of people BEFORE their trials with a caption of ‘Child Predator Arrests’? Like:
“The arrests stemming from Operation Net Nanny resulted in the capture of those seeking out very young and very vulnerable children for sexual exploitation and contact,” Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said.
There are other places in the world where citizens who speak out about police, prosecutors and government can be arrested – while those in power need not worry about persecution – we usually think of those places as ‘the enemy’ – now we are our own enemies.