A high school girl in Wisconsin has been vindicated by a judge after the local sheriff threatened to put her in jail for posting on social media that she had COVID-19. Amyiah Cohoon went to Florida for spring break during her sophomore year of High School.
While she was there, reports of COVID-19 outbreaks among spring breakers were rampant. When she returned home she posted on Instagram that she thought she had COVID-19. She went to the hospital and tested negative, but her doctor said there was a chance she had the potentially deadly virus while she was on spring break, but she was cleared of it.
The post included a photo of her wearing an oxygen mask.
After posting a picture on Instagram, Marquette County Sheriff’s Sgt. Cameron Klump was dispatched to the teen’s home by order of Sheriff Joseph Konrath. Konrath ordered the girl to take down her post because there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 and he felt her post would cause a panic.
Cohoon refused to take down her post and the matter went to court where she eventually won.
“The First Amendment is not a game setting for the government to toggle off and on. It applies in times of tranquility and times of strife,” U.S. District Judge Brett Ludwig ruled. “While Defendants, in this case, may have believed their actions served the greater good, that belief cannot insulate them. Demanding a 16-year-old remove protected speech from her Instagram account is a First Amendment violation.”
Judge Ludwig ruled the police cannot use their authority, and it is not their business to moderate the social media posts of teenagers. He ruled that the Sheriff violated her First Amendment rights.
Since then, Marquette County has had 4,958 COVID-19 cases and 68 have died.
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