Being mean to the mayor of Peoria, Ill. on the interwebs can apparently get you #arrested.
Sometime in late February or early March, somebody launched @peoriamayor — a parody Twitter account designed to skewer the city’s mayor, Jim Ardis, the Peoria Journal Star reported.
Based on the tweets it sent out — which are now unavailable, as the account is suspended — the Twitter account painted Mayor Ardis as being really into marijuana, crack and prostitutes — basically a Peoria version of Toronto’s Rob Ford.
Twitter suspended the account for not identifying itself as a parody, but apparently the Peoria authorities’ feathers were still ruffled. Following the account’s suspension, Peoria police reportedly executed a search warrant in a local home in an attempt to find the face behind the posts.
Five people in total were hauled into the Peoria Police Department for questioning related to the Twitter account. Three were in the home when police searched it, and two were actually taken from their workplace by police.
“They just asked me about the Twitter account, if I knew anything about it,” Michelle Pratt, a resident in the home, told the Peoria Journal Star, “They brought me in like I was a criminal.”
Despite the fact that police confiscated every electronic device with Internet access in the home, they only filed one charge — a marijuana charge against Ms. Pratt’s boyfriend, Jacob Elliot.
Still, Peoria Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard — who also, weirdly, has a parody Twitter account — said the person who’s actually behind the parody account has hefty charges waiting for them. According to him, it counts as “false personation of a public official,” a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.
“I don’t agree it was obvious, and in fact it appears that someone went to great lengths to make it appear it was actually from the mayor,” Mr. Settingsgaard said. But let’s be honest — he’s probably just saucy because his parody account @peoriapolice, only tweeted once, which seems surprisingly low for a town that’s inexplicably obsessed with parody Twitter accounts.
It's Steven baby—
Steven M. Settingsga (@peoriapolice) March 28, 2014
As for the mystery man behind @peoriamayor, Vice seems to have pinpointed another resident of the home, Jon Daniel.
“Tell them my name. Tell them I did it,” Mr. Daniel told Vice. “But when they lock me up tell them to tweet using the hashtag #freesleezyd.”
Peoria is weird, you guys.