The Washington University in St. Louis School of Law's First Amendment Clinic and the ACLU of Missouri has filed suit against St. Louis City Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed on behalf of a constituent for violating their First Amendment rights to free speech.
Sarah Felts, a politically engaged resident of St. Louis City, Missouri, was blocked by President Reed on his official Twitter account because of the critical viewpoints expressed in her tweets. Ms. Felts responded to a post from Action St. Louis, a St. Louis grassroots racial justice organization, and asked President Reed to clarify a statement he made regarding the issue of potentially closing St. Louis' Medium Security Institution, commonly known as the St. Louis Workhouse. President Reed responded not by engaging his constituent as we hope all elected would but blocking her from his social media.
As official government communication increasingly moves online, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must protect the publics' ability to respond and criticize their elected officials. The fact that a public official disagrees with you on an issue doesn't mean they can silence you. That holds true whether you're speaking out in a public park, at a town hall meeting, Twitter, or on a Facebook page.