U.S. Court Says Cleveland Man Can Sue In Arrest Over Anti-Police Parody Facebook Page

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The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals of Cincinnati, Ohio shows thorough and unabashed support for Anthony Novak in a 3-0 decision to pursue several lawsuits over his 2016 arrest and later acquittal. Novak ran a Facebook page mocking a Cleveland police department.

Novak was unlawfully arrested for “disrupting public service” in March, 2016 as a direct response from Cleveland police over his parody Facebook page, lambasting the city’s police officers. The arrest is one of many cases leading to calls for increased police oversight as police violence and false arrests continue to make headlines.

“Novak’s page delighted, disgusted, and confused. Not everyone understood it,” writes Trump-appointed judge Amul Thapar, “But when it comes to parody, the law requires a reasonable reader standard, not a ‘most gullible person on Facebook’ standard. The First Amendment does not depend on whether everyone is in on the joke.”

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