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Ohio man arrested for parody police Facebook page

Technically Incorrect: Police say the fake page contained information that was "derogatory" and "inflammatory." The prankster now faces a possible felony charge for disrupting public services.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Anthony Novak is accused of parodying the Parma Police Department too much.

Photo by City of Parma Police Department

Some people can't take a joke.

On the other hand, some people don't think some pranks are jokes at all.

That seemed to be the case for Parma Police Department in Ohio when it espied a Facebook page that was a parody of its own.

As Cleveland.com reports, the department charged 27-year-old Anthony Novak with a felony for creating a page that resembled the department's official Facebook page.

The department's Lt. Kevin Riley told Cleveland.com that the information on the site was "derogatory" and "inflammatory."

There was, for example, a post announcing a written exam "to establish an eligibility list" for people interested in joining the police force. One of its stipulations read: "Parma is an equal opportunity employer but it strongly encourages minorities not to apply."

This parody page was also adorned with made-up news, as well as announcements such as a food drive to benefit teen abortions and a "Pedophile Reform Event."

Novak is to appear in court on Monday facing a possible felony charge of disrupting public services.

Neither Novak's lawyer David Brown nor the Parma Police Department immediately respond to requests for comment.

"We believe the material that Novak posted on the fake account crossed the line from satire to an actual risk to public safety," Riley told Cleveland.com.

On its official Facebook page, the police posted a warning on March 2 about the parody page.

CBS News reports that Facebook helped the police in unmasking Novak and removing the parody page. Facebook didn't reply to a request for confirmation.

The case does, though, have uncomfortable similarities to one in Peoria, Illinois.

This involved a Twitter account purporting to belong to Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. The mayor seemed to be upset by it. Coincidentally, police raided a house in which the creator of the parody account lived. The police claimed to have a warrant and took away phones and computers.


Charges weren't filed against the creator of the parody, Jon Daniel, despite the fact that police arrested him. The city ended up paying him $125,000 after Daniel sued.

One question some might ask is whether anyone was fooled by Novak's alleged parody.

Naturally, Facebook is now adorned with several new parodies of the Parma Police Department. Sample: the Jerks of City of Parma Police Department page.

Does proceeding with such a case teach anyone a lesson? Does it deter from allegedly criminal activity?

Some might muse that it only serves to make the police look like its self-image is more important than anything else.

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