Noblesville PD’s Battle with Freedom of Speech Moves from Sidewalks to Social Media

Several Noblesville Police Department employees attacked Freedom of Speech – something many believe police officers swear an oath to uphold –  when they arrested Brian and I for chalking a public sidewalk outside their police department last month – meta post here. It seems that Noblesville police are on the offensive to claim another free speech zone this time on their Facebook page. Despite the fact that the page is monitored by people who are paid by tax dollars and, therefore a public forum, the following message was posted Tuesday (November 10th) around 9 pm citing some interesting new guidelines for the Noblesville Police Department Facebook Page:

Updated 11-10-2015

The Noblesville Police Department’s social media accounts are monitored by staff in an effort to inform the public about the department’s as well as the City of Noblesville calls for service, investigations, activities, and events. Our goal is to share information with as many individuals as possible and our policy is to accept the majority of comments in a limited public forum made to our profiles. Comments will be deleted if inaccurate, profane, or defamatory.

*We monitor our profiles and pages but are not responsible for content generated by users. Posted comments and images do not necessarily represent the views of the Noblesville Police Department. Our profiles and pages may contain links to other web sites on the Internet. This does not constitute endorsement by the Noblesville Police Department.

*We do not allow profanity, obscenity, vulgarity, nudity, defamation of character, advertising, or political campaigning on the Noblesville Police Department’s social media pages. Such content will be removed.

*Comments whose main purpose are to sell a product, infringe on copyright, or spam comments, such as the same comment posted repeatedly, may also be removed.

*If you have a question, please contact the Noblesville Police Department directly.

*When interacting with other users, please be civil and follow the usage guidelines established by the social networking service.

*The focus of the social networking opportunities is to share information about the Noblesville Police Department’s programs and activities. Larger discussions of political views and philosophies may be addressed elsewhere.

*All links posted as comments on the Noblesville Police Department’s posts will be deleted.

*Repeated violations of this comment policy may cause the author to be blocked from the Noblesville Police Department’s sponsored social media pages.

We understand that social media is a 24/7 medium, however, our monitoring capabilities are not. We may not see every inappropriate comment right away, and we are trusting in the maturity of our community to ignore personal attacks and negative speech or respond politely.

banner420Now on the surface this notice seems like your standard terms of posting, in fact, most of it is redundant as it’s covered in Facebook’s own TOS. Yet, one can’t help but wonder about the timing of this release, which is about two weeks after our chalking arrest and a constant flow of messages expressing displeasure for those actions, and the interesting language used above. For example, “accept the majority of comments in a limited public forum” or “larger discussions of political views and philosophies may be addressed elsewhere.

The first is confusing when they claim their goal for the page as wanting to share information, with accepting the majority of comments, but then try to push that it’s a “limited public forum?” How is the internet and the department’s Facebook page – a public forum  – limited? The second quote above notes that political views and philosophical discussions MAY BE addressed elsewhere. What the NPD is really saying is that they won’t accept criticism of their jobs, which are both based in political and philosophical realms, on their page.

Claiming to be a limited public forum or that a post is off topic aren’t the only things that will get your comment(s) removed or your profile banned. Simply sharing any URL as a comment will get that comment (link) deleted. Which is convient since many of those who’ve been posting the meta post URL – http://copblock.org/noblesville -, which raises the question to the charges pushed onto Brian and I by NPD, are now going to be deleted. Or anyone’s post that raises question to the actions of any NPD officer, as covered by their new, conveniently worded, policy.

Since the Noblesville Police arrested us their Facebook page rating has dropped nearly 1.5 stars, almost every post has a comment, link or statement about their actions towards Brian and I. So what do you think this new policy for? It seems clear to me that it’s intention is to keep people from raising awareness about the Noblesville Police department and their employees actions. Not only ours but anyone who has grievances with them from here on out.

The people of Noblesville should be very concerned about these recent actions of their police officer. They are not only wasting valuable city resources they’re treading the line for multiple Freedom of Speech lawsuits. Something that, sadly, will fall onto taxpayers and not the individuals responsible for such wrongdoings.

READ MORE ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR RIGHTS TO FREE SPEECH ON SOCIAL MEDIA

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Ademo Freeman

was born and raised in Wisconsin, traveled the country in a RV dubbed "MARV" and is an advocate of a voluntary society, where force is replaced with voluntary interactions. He's partaken in projects such as, Motorhome Diaries, Liberty on Tour, Free Keene, Free Talk Live and is the Founder of CopBlock.org. ____________________________________________________________________________ If you enjoy my work at CopBlock.org, please, consider donating $1/month to the CopBlock Network or purchasing CopBlock.org Gear from the store. ____________________________________________________________________________ Find Ademo at these social networks: Facebook Twitter Youtube