Wisconsin teenager wins lawsuit over COVID-19 social media post

(Source: Associated Press)
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 3:07 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin high school student has won a federal lawsuit she brought against a sheriff who threatened her with jail time early in the COVID-19 pandemic if she didn’t remove social media posts saying she had the virus.

U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig ruled that Amyiah Cohoon’s constitutional right to free speech was violated when a Marquette County sheriff’s deputy in March 2020 demanded she take down the posts.

The judge wrote that, “The First Amendment is not a game setting for the government to toggle off and on.”

When the suit was filed, an attorney for the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department said that the girl’s messages caused panic. The Wisconsin Institute for Liberty and Law filed the lawsuit against Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a patrol sergeant.

The high school student alleged that she was threatened with jail if she didn’t remove the social media posts saying she had COVID-19. The lawsuit alleged that the sergeant went to the home of Cohoon of Oxford, Wisconsin, and demanded that her Instagram posts be deleted or she and her parents would face arrest.

An attorney for the sheriff and the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department said no one was threatened with arrest.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.