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Iowa man charged for critical Facebook post wins settlement

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Posted at 3:13 PM, Jul 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-08 16:13:28-04

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A southwest Iowa man has won his free speech legal battle with a sheriff’s department and two officers who charged him with harassment for writing a social media post that profanely criticized a deputy.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office will pay Jon Richard Goldsmith $10,000 to settle a federal lawsuit he filed in May alleging violations of his free speech rights, retaliation and false arrest.

The sheriff’s office agreed to a court order filed Monday that prohibits it from bringing criminal charges against or threatening to criminally charge citizens on the basis of the lawful comments, posts, or other speech protected by the First Amendment.

Goldsmith criticized Deputy Cory Dorsey in a profane Facebook post in July that prompted the sheriff’s department to charge Goldsmith with third-degree harassment. The charge was dropped after Goldsmith hired an attorney to fight the misdemeanor charge.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa represented Goldsmith in the lawsuit against Adams County, Dorsey and his supervisor.

A woman answering the department’s phone Monday says Sheriff Alan Johannes wasn’t available to comment.