Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* I posted this story yesterday in Morning Shorts. It has since caught fire…
Police officers trying to find out who was behind a fake Twitter account set up in the name of Peoria’s mayor have raided a home, seizing computers and phones and hauling several people in to be questioned.
Tuesday’s raid was carried out by four plainclothes officers even though Twitter had suspended the account several weeks ago. Three people at the home were brought to a police station to be interviewed, as were two other people who were met by police at their workplaces.
No arrests were made in connection with the Twitter account, but one of the residents was charged with possession of marijuana, the (Peoria) Journal Star reported. Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard says officers were investigating it as a possible case of impersonating a public official, an offense punishable with a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail.
The account, @peoriamayor, has been suspended by Twitter administrators. The suspension not only prevents the account holder from using the account to add posts, but it removes all previous Tweets.
* Ironically, a number of new parody accounts for Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis and the police chief have popped up since the story became public. The Peoria Journal Star’s digital editor has compiled a list of some of those accounts.
I’m sure this isn’t the last we have heard of this story.
10:53 a.m. - A Peoria-based writer has a personal interview with the kid behind @peoriamayor. Go and read the whole thing.
When it was active, (Jon) Daniel used it to portray Jim Ardis, the mayor of Peoria, as a weed-smoking, stripper-loving, Midwestern answer to Rob Ford. The account never had more than 50 followers, and Twitter had killed it because it wasn’t clearly marked as a parody. It was a joke, a lark—but it brought the police to Daniel’s door. The cops even took Daniel and one of his housemates in for in-depth questioning—they showed up at their jobs, cuffed them, and confiscated their phones—because of a bunch of Twitter jokes.
Full disclosure: Part of the blame for this situation rests on my shoulders. I loudly promoted @peoriamayor when I first noticed it, having no idea someone I knew was responsible for tweets that mostly had the fake mayor using drugs and partying. It was pretty damn funny. One of Daniel’s roommates told me that the first question police asked him was, “How do you know Justin Glawe?”
“Tell them my name. Tell them I did it,” he said, acknowledging the cops have him cornered. “But when they lock me up tell them to tweet using the hashtag #freesleezyd.”