ACLU files lawsuit over Facebook censorship on behalf of Beech Grove residents

Staff Report
TheStatehouseFile.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Two Beech Grove residents are suing the City of Beech Grove for removing residents’ posts from the city’s Facebook pages and blocking them from posting future comments.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of Kymberly Quick and Deborah Mays-Miller.

Both Quick and Mays-Miller serve as members of the Beech Grove Crime Watch.

After posting comments related to crime awareness and prevention on the City of Beech Grove and the Beech Grove Police Department Facebook pages, administers of the page removed the women’s posts and other Facebook users’ posts from the page on multiple occasions, according to the ACLU.

The posts, which an ACLU press release said were removed without explanation, may have been perceived as critical of the city and police, questioning their recent actions related to the removal of political yard signs, according to the release.

“When a government entity opens up a space for public comment, it cannot regulate those comments based upon someone’s viewpoint,” said Jan Mensz, ACLU of Indiana staff attorney. “By giving itself unbridled discretion to determine what comments it deems acceptable, the City of Beech Grove has put all public speech on its social media sites at risk of further censorship.”

But the city of Beech Grove maintains a policy and practice of censoring Facebook posts based on the viewpoint of the user.

The ACLU said the city’s actions violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

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