Ohio officers arrest man for creating parody Facebook page of city’s police department
Anthony C. Novak, 27, arrested for allegedely creating a fake Facebook account for the Parma Police Department.
A parody page could mean prison for an Ohio man who’s accused of creating a fake Facebook profile of his police department.
Parma Police arrested Anthony Novak, 27, after he allegedly made a parody account of their department’s Facebook page and posted “derogatory” and “inflammatory” information, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported.
The parody page was created on March 2 and looked identical to the official Parma Police profile. The only difference was in the fake link’s URL, which had a “The” before “City Of Parma Police Department.”
The satire page had posts suggesting it would be illegal to help the homeless, offering free abortions to teens and advertising a “Pedophile Reform event” that offered sex offenders an opportunity as an “honorary police officer of the Parma Police Department.”
The profile was deleted after Parma police reached out to Facebook and arrested Novak on Friday.
One of the “inflammatory posts” on the page was about a food drive that would help fund free abortions for teens.
This parody post advertised a fake officer exam for the Parma police department.
“The public should disregard any and all information posted on the fake Facebook account,” officers wrote in a warning post on March 2.
Since Novak’s arrest, several parody accounts of the Parma Police Department have popped up in protest, including “For Real Parma Police Department Page,” “City of Parma Police” and “The Parma Police Department.” It is unclear if those parody account creators will also be arrested.
Novak faces a possible felony charge of disrupting public services because of his satirical account.
Lt. Kevin Riley said his department recognizes Novak’s First Amendment rights, but believes his parody crossed a line, he told reporters.
In this parody post, the “police” claim it is illegal to help the homeless.
Another parody post advertised a “Pedophile Reform” event outside of a church.
“In this particular case, we believe the material that Novak posted on the fake account crossed the line from satire to an actual risk to public safety,” he said.
The suspect is expected to make his first court appearance on Monday.
His attorney David Brown said this was “an unusual case” that had the potential to raise First Amendment issues, but it was still too early in the case to tell.