A judge in Wisconsin has upheld a man’s right to flame the local police department in very colorful language on Facebook. The man, Thomas G. Smith, got furious in 2012 after the police posted news of several arrests that they had made. He went onto their Facebook page and posted several comments including “F**k them n****rs bit*hs wat you got on us not a dam thing so f**k off d*cks” and “F**k the f*****g cops.” When the Arena police saw Smith’s angry comments, they had his posts deleted from Facebook and arrested him.
He was convicted of unlawful use of a computer and disorderly conduct. He appealed, and his conviction was overturned because his activity was ruled to be protected free speech.
Smith then filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in 2014, charging that the village had violated his right to free expression. His attorney announced this week that the parties have arrived at a settlement in Smith’s favor, and he will be paid $35,000 for the mistakes made by the Arena police.