City of Woodland Park ordered to pay $65,000 in Facebook blocking lawsuit



The city of Woodland Park has been ordered to pay a man $65,000 in a lawsuit settlement after he was blocked from the Facebook pages of the city and the Woodland Park Police Department.

The city has also been ordered to change its social media policy on removing comments.

Delbert Sgaggio was blocked from then Woodland Park Police Chief Miles De Young “because he criticized a raid by Woodland Park police officers,” said Andy McNulty, Sgaggio’s attorney, in a news release.

Sgaggio commented on a post with a video that was critical of the raid, and the comment was removed. When Sgaggio called out and criticized the removal of his comment, his comments were removed and he was blocked from commenting on the city and police department’s pages.

“This case sends a message to every public official in the country: respect the free speech rights of your constituents online or pay the price,” said McNulty, of Killmer, Lane & Newman, LLP. “Woodland Park and its officials are acting like their counterparts in Russia, China, and North Korea that censor their citizens online. Luckily, in this country, we have the First Amendment and brave citizens like Delbert Sgaggio to protect us from oppressive government officials like Chief De Young.”

McNulty said this is a record-setting settlement and is the largest settlement in a case of a public official blocking someone on Facebook.

In the settlement — which was signed Aug. 3 — the city of Woodland Park in addition to the $65,000 is ordered to delete from its social media policy a clause that states it can remove comments based on vulgarity or profanity and based on what the city’s social media team deems “inappropriate.”



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