A park district officer issued a $50 ticket to a woman for not using a dog park permit after reading her Facebook post. The only problem, aside from privacy issues, was that the officer misunderstood her comment.
Will County Forest Preserve District officials said they would "rescind a ticket" that was given because of that Facebook comment made by a Bolingbrook, Illinois, woman, according to the Chicago Tribune. The unnamed woman apparently posted as a response to an outbreak of kennel cough at Whalon Lake Dog Park:
"I was feeling bad that I haven’t bought a pass and been bringing Ginger there but I’m pretty glad I haven’t. So not going to worry about it until later. I hope all the doggies get better soon."
A forest preserve employee forwarded the comment to the protection officer who understood the comment to mean the woman wasn't using a permit at the dog park.
“The employee had good intentions, but it wasn’t a good idea,” Lt. Tracey Phillips told the Tribune.
The cited woman posted about the ticket and said she received a letter stating she was ticketed because she had posted on a social media site that she had used the park without a valid permit. “That’s dead wrong,” the woman wrote. “I haven’t gone there since 2013!”
Forest Preserve District Executive Director Marcy DeMauro said the district doesn't monitor social media sites like Facebook for scofflaws "nor does the district issue a citation based on a post made on a social media site." DeMauro said the citation is under review.
“We treat any information like that as a tip and that has to be verified before any action is taken on our part,” she said adding, “We would go to the dog park to see if that individual is actually there and using the dog park without a permit.”
No disciplinary action has been taken against the citation-issuing officer and officials would not name the officer. DeMauro said that the district was trying to reach the woman to cancel her citation.
Overzealous policing? We've written several times
about law enforcement monitoring Facebook
and other social media accounts, but it's still unnerving to think that anything you say could get you in trouble with the law. Should social media come with digital Miranda warnings?