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Medina: ACLU backs man who cheered on Sandy Hook gunman

3:08 PM, Jan 9, 2013   |    comments
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MEDINA -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio filed a "not guilty" plea in Medina Municipal Court on behalf of Joseph W. Resovsky.

Resovsky, 20, of Columbia Station, was charged with inducing panic for his online commentary made in the aftermath of the tragic school shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

ACLU says online commentary that does not involve a true threat is protected First Amendment speech.

Resovsky used Facebook to cheer on the Newtown, Connecticut shooter on Dec. 14.

Later in December, when he asked the court to drop the charges, saying the misdemeanor charge violates his right to freedom of speech, the court denied his motion.

Medina police charged him with inducing panic after he posted a message that read, in part, "Viva La School Shootings" on Dec. 14, the day of the killings.

On Dec. 19, WKYC's Dave Summers confronted Resovsky and asked him why he posted that message.

Watch David Summers' video and read the story: Medina: Facebook support for Sandy Hook gunman leads to arrest

"We believe the defendant's statements are protected speech under the First Amendment," said ACLU of Ohio Legal Director James Hardiman.

"His attention-seeking comments made no direct threats. They may have been in bad taste, and they may have offended people, but our Constitution makes it very clear that offending people is not illegal."

"It's also important to remember that arresting people for non-threatening protected speech only makes it harder for communities to recognize true danger," added Hardiman.

"In times like these, it's more important than ever for schools, police departments, and community leaders to use their heads as well as their hearts when dealing with these free speech issues. We can keep our communities safe without sacrificing the First Amendment."

WKYC-TV

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