- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

PARMA, Ohio (AP) - A suburban Cleveland police department said it has charged a 27-year-old man with creating a fake Facebook page that purported to be its actual page.

The Parma Police Department said Friday that Anthony Novak of Parma has been charged with a felony count of disrupting public services. The agency began investigating early this month when “The City of Parma Police Department” page showed up. The department’s page has the same name without “The.”

Police say detectives worked with Facebook officials in their investigation of the page’s origin and its removal.

An attorney for Novak said the case might raise First Amendment issues.

“It’s an unusual case,” attorney David Brown told cleveland.com. Brown added that it was too soon to decide how he would approach Novak’s defense.

Parma Lt. Kevin Riley said police recognize citizens’ rights to exercise their freedom of speech, but they believe this went too far.

Police said the Novak posted “derogatory and inflammatory” information.

The fake page had items about ways sex offenders could have their names taken off the state sex offender database. It also suggested it would be illegal to help the homeless for three months.

Police said Novak is scheduled to appear in Parma Municipal Court on Monday.


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