Ohio man sues city for arresting him over Facebook page

CLEVELAND — A man charged with and acquitted of a felony for creating a fake
Facebook page that parodied a suburban Cleveland police department is suing the city, saying it violated his right to free speech.

Anthony Novak filed the lawsuit Tuesday against the city of Parma and three officers. He created a Facebook page in March 2016 that appeared similar to the page of Parma’s police department and posted items suggesting police were performing free abortions for teenagers. The page also suggested it would be illegal to help the homeless for three months and had a recruitment post ‘‘strongly encouraging minorities to not apply.’’

Parma police announced an investigation into the page the day it was created. Novak, 28, took the page down less than 12 hours after putting it up. Officers sent Facebook a letter requesting that it shut the page down, and they issued a subpoena to obtain Novak’s identity.


Novak was charged with disrupting public services, a fourth-degree felony that carries a sentence of up to 18 months in prison.

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Novak and his attorneys called it a ‘‘sham investigation’’ that violated Novak’s constitutional rights to free speech.

associated press