SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Facebook feud between Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones and the founder of Sacramento Black Lives Matter is now at the center of a federal lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses the sheriff of violating civil rights by banning some people from posting to his public Facebook page.
The Sheriff Scott Jones Facebook page includes political posts by Jones that lead to heated online exchanges. In one post, he included a gallery of pictures, some from Sacramento Black Lives Matter Facebook users.
When Sacramento Black Lives Matter founder Tanya Faison commented on the post, Sheriff Jones allegedly deleted her comments, then blocked her from his page.
Faison is now filing a lawsuit claiming that alleged ban violates her civil rights.
“I mean, he doesn’t like me,” Faison said. “I think that’s why he specifically sat there and blocked me immediately.”
A spokesperson for the sheriff’s department said Jones was recovering from surgery and wasn’t able to respond to the lawsuit. The spokesperson also said the Sheriff Jones Facebook page is independent of the Sacramento County Sheriff Department Facebook page, from which no one is blocked.
That’s a point Faison says has no bearing on her case.
“The Sacramento Sheriff Department page is not having posts about me,” Faison said. “They are not communicating to the public specifically about me. Scott Jones was communicating specifically about me, and I was not able to comment back on the remarks that he made.”
Civil rights attorney Jeffrey Kravitz calls the case possibly precedent-setting in defining how public officials can legally use their social media accounts.
“Well there is definitely a gray area,” Kravitz said. “So we do have a problem, of whether this is really the official communication of the Sheriff’s Department in which they’re engaging, in which they’ve created a public forum, or not.”
A Facebook feud now morphing into a federal civil rights case. The sheriff versus his blocked Facebook followers.