Woman Mailed Citation From Chicago Area Park District After Social Media Post

Apparently police are now cruising the web looking for people who make claims that leads one to believe they could or might or perhaps broke some jackbooted rule, regulation or law and then they are punishing them through the U.S. mails on this hearsay evidence.

The police department of a Chicago area forest preserve district used a local woman’s social media post as a basis to send her a citation in the mail after she made a Facebook post about a county park.

The woman says she wrote a Facebook post that was misinterpreted by Will County forest preserve police as an admission that she was violating park rules. It wasn’t long after she posted her comment that she received a notice of violation in the mail and told she owed the county a fine for illegal use of a park.

Will County is situated south and a bit west abutting Chicago’s Cook County.

The citation came after Will County citizens began posting social media warnings that dogs were catching “kennel cough” at a particular dog park in the park system.

A Facebook page set up by private users of Will County’s Whalon Lake Dog Park–a page not connected to, or run by county officials–started warning that dogs were getting sick after owners took them to the park.

But one Facebook group member posted a badly worded entry to the page that got the attention of police who were evidently monitoring the Facebook page.

The woman wrote: “I was feeling bad that I haven’t bought a pass and been bringing Ginger there but I’m pretty glad I haven’t.”

When contacted by a Patch reporter, the woman said that she meant to say that she hadn’t gotten a license and had not been using the park and was glad she hadn’t because she would have exposed her dog to the illness that was going around.

But park police took her post to mean that she hadn’t purchased a license but was still using the park in violation of park rules and so sent her a ticket in the mail after tracking her down through her social media account information.

Will County forest preserve spokesperson Cindy Cain admitted that the park police department did, indeed, send the woman a violation in the mail.

“We did issue a citation to a woman based on her Facebook post. The only reason we were monitoring the group is because of the complaints of kennel cough. When we saw her post about visiting the dog park without buying a permit, it was our responsibility to respond,” she said.

Cain also said that the woman would have her day in court and could protest the ticket.

But users of the Facebook page were alarmed that county officials were using their page as a platform to hand out citations. One even called it a “Gestapo tactic.”

Not surprisingly, the citizen who received the ticket in the mail said she was “shocked and confused” when it arrived.

County officials were quick to claim they aren’t trolling social media to find violators and just happened to accidentally come across this woman’s posting when monitoring the Facebook page for the health concerns of pets.

In a post to The Will County News, Steve Balich, a Will County Forest Preserve Commissioner, said he spoke to Don Gould, President of the Forest Preserve, and Gould agreed that his police department should not be trolling social media looking for violators.

Recently the same county turned back rules that allowed the assessor’s office to use aerial drones to search for violations of building and land use codes. In May an Executive Order by the Will County Executive dumped the rule after citizens complained of the invasion of privacy endemic by the use of the drones and other types of aerial photography as a means to hand out code violations.

These two issues, trolling social media and use of aerial drones to search for violators of county codes, is another marker of how authorities are using technology against citizens.

But let’s think about this, here. We have police issuing citations based on some few lines on the Internet? How do they know that the incident even really happened? What proof do they have that the social media post is truth and not just someone spouting off, someone joking, even someone posing as someone else? How can police possibly use this as undeniable “proof” of anything? (Note we are not talking actual photographs, here. At least a photos is some kind of proof.)

No, what we have here is government as a weapon against the people, folks. We need to rise up and stop this nonsense. Get involved like the folks in Will County that stopped the use of aerial drones to spy out code violations. Get involved and stop this un-American, Big Brotheresque government intrusion.

Shortlink:

Posted by on May 29, 2014.
Filed under Barack Obama, Big government, Constitutional Issues, corruption, Culture, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Economics, Liberals.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events.He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com"The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

You can leave a response or trackback to this entry
  • jim_m

    The purpose of the surveillance state is not to protect the public, but rather to extract from them the maximum amount of revenue and to protect the government from them.

  • http://proof-proofpositive.blogspot.com/ Proof

    Dog park? Meh. Last week I scaled the fence at the White House, sneaked into the presidential living quarters and put a whoopie cushion under Michelle Obama’s pillow.
    I then routed Internet signals through Singapore, Bangladesh and Edward Snowden’s old laptop, to make it appear that I was posting from my home in California, so I would have an iron clad alibi.

    Question: After reading this, will the Secret Service mail me my citation or deliver it in person? Either way, seeing the ‘Aunt Esther’ look on Michelle’s face after Barry laughed was worth it!

  • GarandFan

    Funny thing about the current crop of drones; as PETA found out, they can be mistaken for game bird.

  • Idahoser

    so… the park is the private party of the government, then?

    • jim_m

      The park, the street, the sky, pretty much everything belongs to the government.

      Of course this wasn’t about ownership it was just about an excuse to extort money out of someone.

  • LiberalNightmare

    “We did issue a citation to a woman based on her Facebook post. The only reason we were monitoring the group is because of the complaints of kennel cough. When we saw her post about visiting the dog park without buying a permit, it was our responsibility to respond,” she said.

    County officials were quick to claim they aren’t trolling social media to find violators and just happened to accidentally come across this woman’s posting when monitoring the Facebook page for the health concerns of pets.

    They seem to throw the word “monitoring” around with abandon. Do they think its helping?

    • jim_m

      One of the primary concerns when they instituted electronic toll collection on the tollways was that they would use the technology to ticket speeders since they could easily calculate who had been speeding.

      Fortunately, they have been able to control their baser instincts and not gone the full KGB on the tollways, but I suspect that this is only a matter of time, especially in Illinois where the government is bankrupt both financially as well as morally.

      • warnertoddhuston

        And yet, that same toll collection data has still be used against people in court to show where people accused of things went and when.

  • The_Queen_of_France

    Aerial drones, trolling social media, red light cameras, electronic toll collections/cameras, junk food taxes, high cigarette taxes, etc etc etc. There will only be more and more of these ridiculous invasions of privacy and penalties for “living a lifestyle counter to the public good” because this is the only way left to raise monies to pay those who won’t support themselves and pull their own weight.