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After lawsuit filed, Boone Co investigation finds Facebook page blocking was "inadvertent"

ACLU sued the county earlier this month
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Posted at 12:10 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-25 15:08:42-04

BOONE COUNTY — Almost two weeks after a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana prompted an internal investigation in Boone County, commissioners say the post and blocking of an individual on the county's Facebook page was inadvertent.

"The situation has been rectified," commissioners said in a statement Tuesday. "We have taken steps to ensure this does not happen again and are working on an expeditious resolution of the litigation."

County commissioner spokesperson Noah Alatza tells WRTV the administrator thought he was utilizing his own personal page, and that person has now been removed from the county's Facebook account.

"Specific operational changes have also been incorporated to ensure that people aren't blocked in the future ... the county's internal investigation has been completed," Alatza said.

The ACLU told WRTV Tuesday that no official agreement has been reached at this time.

The lawsuit was filed on May 12 on behalf of Boone County resident Kevin Dininger. According to the lawsuit, Dininger commented on a Facebook post saying that he intended to vote for a challenger who was running to become a Boone County commissioner instead of the incumbents.

"The County responded swiftly to Mr. Dininger’s comment by limiting or disabling any comments on the post, an act that had the effect of deleting Mr. Dinginer’s comment," the lawsuit read.

The lawsuit alleges that Dininger then made a post to his personal Facebook page about the matter and after that, the County blocked him from the page altogether.

"The County’s action in blocking Mr. Dininger from its Facebook page unjustifiably impinges on Mr. Dininger’s rights under the First Amendment," the lawsuit states.

In a previous statement after the lawsuit was filed, the Commissoners said they are "strong proponents of the First Amendment and believe in everyone's right to free speech."