Mocking the Police Is Not a Crime

Posted: Oct 05, 2022 12:01 AM

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In a Supreme Court brief it filed this week, The Onion claims it was founded in 1756 and has “a daily readership of 4.3 trillion.” The brief describes The Onion as “the single most powerful and influential organization in human history,” with interests in shipping, strip mining, deforestation and animal testing as well as journalism.The case that prompted The Onion’s brief is no less ridiculous than the satirical website’s patently preposterous puffery. Last April, a federal appeals court said a man could not sue police officers who had arrested him for making fun of them because they could have reasonably thought their petty vendetta was consistent with the First Amendment.The spoof of the Parma, Ohio, police department’s Facebook page that Anthony Novak created in 2016 was not subtle. It included a job notice that said the department “is strongly encouraging minorities to not apply,” a post advertising a police abortion van for teenagers, a warning that Parma had made giving homeless people food a crime so they would “leave our city due to starvation” and an announcement of “our official stay inside and catch up with the family day,” during which anyone venturing outside between noon an …

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