by Lucy Steigerwald
April 24, 2014


On April 15, seven police officers in Peoria, Illinois raided the home of Jon Daniel and his roommates. They took various electronics, and kept several residents of the house cuffed for hours. The reason for this raid? Any good student of the current state of American policing might have guesses – was it drug trafficking? Immigration issues? Terrorism?

No. Nothing as disturbingly expected as all that. This particular raid was over a parody Twitter account made by Jon Daniel that mocked Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, portraying him as a Rob Ford-esque party animal and user of recreational substances. Though Daniel eventually marked the account as fake, and then Twitter suspended the damn thing anyway, that wasn’t enough for Ardis, who filed a complaint with the police department. And three different judges signed off on the search warrant that permitted seizing electronics, computer equipment, and mysteriously, “cocaine, heroin, [or] drug paraphernalia.”

Police came in, searched, seized, and interrogated for hours, then, unfortunately arrested Daniel’s roommate Jakob Elliot for felony pot possession. Daniel, the criminal mastermind behind the fake mayor, had “impersonating a public official” dangling over his head for a time, but Illinois state attorney Jerry Brady on Wednesday declined to press charges. Perhaps the cascade of mocking and outrage suddenly directed at Peoria helped that decision. It might just be that impersonating has to be in person according his reading of the Illinois statute.

(This is also good news for the makers of the multiple fake Jim Ardis accounts that took to Twitter in the last week. Not all of them are clearly marked parody either!)

The war on drugs was militarized under Ronald Reagan – but now the war on terror is an additional excuse, and the Pentagon and Department of Homeland Security are additional sources of funding.

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