The ACLU of Missouri was made aware of threatening social media posts on the Maries County Sheriff’s Official Government Facebook page, implying that the Sheriff would organize armed citizens to confront protestors.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 21, 2020
Vienna, Missouri: On Friday, August 21rst, the ACLU of Missouri filed suit against the Maries County Sheriff's office for intentionally failing to provide documents requested under Missouri's Sunshine Law after payment for the records was given.
Following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement, Missourians took to the streets in protest to call for racial justice and an end to police brutality. The ACLU of Missouri was made aware by concerned citizens of threatening social media posts on the Maries County Sheriff Chris Heitman’s Official Government Facebook page, implying that citizens of the county were armed and would be deputized in response to what they claimed to be lawless protestors.
The Sheriff's Office itself has now knowingly and purposely violated the law, not any of the non-violent protesters.
On June 17th, following the reports made by concerned citizens related to threatening social media posts, the ACLU of Missouri's Executive Director Luz María Henríquez made an open records request for social media posts of the Maries County Sheriff’s Office from December 19th to the present date, all policies related to social media use of the Sheriff’s Office, and the any grievance procedures of the Sheriff’s Office. Despite some initial communication related to the request, the Sheriff’s Office stopped responding to ACLU inquiries on the request. No records have been provided.
"We will continue to hold the Maries County Sheriff’s Office accountable for its resolute refusal to follow the law. We look forward to reviewing the records and discovering what it is that the Sheriff's Office is trying to hide." Tony Rothert Legal Director ACLU of Missouri