Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty
Press Release

WILL Sues Marquette County Sheriff for Free Speech Violation

Sheriff, Patrol Sergeant threatened teen with arrest over social media post

By - Apr 16th, 2020 12:30 pm

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in federal court Thursday against Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a Patrol Sergeant for violating the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of an Oxford, Wisconsin teen. The lawsuit results from a March incident where Marquette County law enforcement threatened the teen and her parents with arrest unless an Instagram post was removed.

The Quote: Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said, “There are no circumstances that would allow law enforcement to police social media in this way. At a moment when civil liberties need to be guarded most, the Marquette County Sheriff must be held accountable.”

Background: Rick and Angela Cohoon’s teen daughter Amyiah developed a severe respiratory illness in March after a spring break trip to Florida. After one visit to a local hospital, her symptoms worsened and she ended up at a hospital in Madison. Amyiah tested negative for COVID-19 in Madison, but doctors told her that she likely had the virus but had missed the testing window. Amyiah posted updates to Instagram about this experience, including a post after she returned from the hospital that she had “beaten the coronavirus.”

Then, on March 27, a Marquette County Patrol Sergeant was dispatched to the Cohoon’s home to demand the Instagram posts be removed or face arrest for disorderly conduct. The Instagram posts were removed after the threat from law enforcement.

WILL issued a demand letter to Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath on April 3, requesting an apology and acknowledgement that the Cohoons have a First Amendment right to freely express themselves on social media. Sheriff Konrath has not met either demand.

WILL’s lawsuit was filed in the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Read More:

Mentioned in This Press Release

Government:

Recent Press Releases by Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty

STUDY: No High-Performing School Options for 40,000 Wisconsin Students in 134 ZIP Codes

WILL study identifies high-performing school deserts in Wisconsin

WILL Files Amicus in National Legal Fight Over CARES Act Relief for Private Schools

WILL leads coalition of 38 state and national groups advocating for private schools

WILL Urges Madison West High School to Reconsider Racially Segregated Group Discussions

Madison West High School students were separated by race for group discussions

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us