• July 14, 2024

Man Was Arrested and Charged with Felony Terrorism For Covid Joke in 2020. It Was Protected Speech Under First Amendment, Court Rules

 Man Was Arrested and Charged with Felony Terrorism For Covid Joke in 2020. It Was Protected Speech Under First Amendment, Court Rules

Waylon Bailey was arrested and charged with felony terrorism in March 2020 for posting a Covid joke to his Facebook page.

Bailey’s post was an obvious joke. He even referenced “World War Z,” a 2013 zombie apocalypse movie starring Brad Pitt.

“SHARE SHARE SHARE ! ! ! !” Bailey wrote in a Facebook post. “JUST IN: RAPIDES PARISH SHERIFFS OFFICE HAVE ISSUED THE ORDER, IF DEPUTIES COME INTO CONTACT WITH ‘THE INFECTED’ SHOOT ON SIGHT….Lord have mercy on us all. #Covid9teen #weneedyoubradpitt.” he wrote. (screenshot below)

Within hours, a dozen SWAT officers in bulletproof vests from the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office showed up to Bailey’s Alexandria, Lousiana home and arrested him without a warrant.

Bailey was arrested and charged with felony terrorism for posting a joke on his Facebook page.

He was released on a $1,200 bond and the DA decided not to prosecute him. Still, the news of the arrest upended his life so he decided to pursue legal action against the Sheriff.

In September 2020 Bailey filed a lawsuit accusing Detective Randell Iles and Sheriff Mark Wood of violating his First and Fourth Amendment rights.

In July 2022, US District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana, David Joseph, dismissed Waylon Bailey’s claims and ruled the Sheriff was protected under qualified immunity which shields government officials from liability unless it can be proven they violated the Constitution.

Bailey appealed the judge’s decision and on Friday, the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled his Covid joke was indeed protected speech under the First Amendment.

“The post did not direct any person or group to take any unlawful action immediately or in the near future,” the judges wrote, according to the Washington Post. “ … at worst, his post was a joke in poor taste, but it cannot be read as intentionally directed to incitement.”

The appellate judges ruled Detective Randell Iles

Source: The Gateway Pundit

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