Police Officers Raided Someone's Home Over A Fake Twitter Account

Twitter shadowREUTERS/Eduardo MunozA man walks past a Twitter banner while leaving JP Morgan headquarters, before the firm’s IPO in New York, October 25, 2013.

Setting up a satirical or parody Twitter account could land you in jail, according to Peoria, Ill. police.

Police officers raided a home on Tuesday hoping to nab the person behind the now-suspended Twitter account of @PeoriaMayor — seizing computers, phones, and bringing in several people for questioning, AP reported.

“They brought me in like I was a criminal,” Michelle Pratt, 27, told the Peoria-Journal Star. “They said they had a search warrant and took all the electronic devices that had Internet access. They said there had been an Internet crime that occurred at this residence.”

The alleged “internet crime” was the creation of the fake account months ago that parodied Mayor Jim Ardis, complete with his photo and city email address. At the time it was made, it did not include a parody label, although it was updated to reflect that in March.

Police are investigating the account for impersonation of a public official, a Class A misdemeanour punishable by a fine of $US2,500 and up to a year in jail, Police Chief Steve Settingsgaard told The Star.

Since the account has been suspended, Business Insider was unable to see what types of tweets were posted, but the Star reported it having repeated references to sex and drugs, along with comparisons to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Twitter allows parody accounts, but requires users to make clear the account is not the real thing.

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