Delbert Sgaggio was awarded $65,000 by the city of Woodland Park, Colorado for a violation of First Amendment rights.
Sgaggio was personally blocked on Facebook by former Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young for criticizing a Woodland Park police raid. When Sgaggio criticized the deletion of his comment, it was also deleted and he was later blocked from commenting on the Facebook pages of the police department and the city of Woodland Park.
Delbert Sgaggio filed a lawsuit that they violated his First Amendment rights by blocking him from commenting on his Facebook page.
Woodland Park Police later announced that they would not “edit or edit any posts” on social media sites, but reserve the right to remove comments that “do not promote civil discussion or violate our posting/commenting policy, including the use of vulgar language, personal attacks, abusive comments and other rules.
In addition to being ordered to pay Delbert Sgaggio $65,000, the city was also ordered to update and change its policy regarding social media regulations.
“This case sends a message to all public officials across the country: respect your constituents’ free speech rights online or pay the price,” said Andy McNulty of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. “Woodland Park and its officials act like their counterparts in Russia, China and North Korea who censor their citizens online. Fortunately, in this country, we have the First Amendment and brave citizens like Delbert Sgaggio to protect us from oppressive government officials like Chief De Young, otherwise, clearly, he would act like Vladimir Putin without any repercussions.
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