California sheriff sued for allegedly blocking Black Lives Matter leaders on Facebook

California sheriff sued for allegedly blocking Black Lives Matter leaders on Facebook
© Sacramento Bee

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against a California sheriff accusing him of violating the First Amendment rights of the city’s Black Lives Matter leaders.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, claims that Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones blocked Tanya Faison and Sonia Lewis from posting comments on his official Facebook page, according to the Sacramento Bee.

The suit says Jones blocked Faison and Lewis from commenting after they responded to one of his posts that included screenshots from the Black Lives Matter Sacramento page. The screenshots included language supporting efforts to "abolish the police” and “all cops are bastards.”

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Faison told the Bee that Facebook is one of the only forums where she and other activists “can engage with the sheriff and his supporters.”

“Expressing our views is part of our role as residents of Sacramento,” she said.

The lawsuit asks a judge to order Jones to unblock Faison and Lewis from his official accounts, and also seeks damages.

A federal district court judge last year ruled that President Trump cannot block Twitter users over their political views because his Twitter account is a public forum. 

ACLU senior staff attorney Sean Riordan called Jones’s alleged actions “impermissible censorship.”

“Sheriff Jones has attempted to stifle the voices of the leaders of Black Lives Matter Sacramento,” Riordan told the paper.

The Sacramento sheriff’s department told the Bee that Jones was not available to comment because he is on leave following gallbladder surgery.