A Sibley, Iowa man threatened by city officials with legal action for saying on a website that his hometown smelled like “rancid dog food” has won a free-speech lawsuit.
Josh Harms, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, filed suit in U.S. District Court earlier this month asking a judge to block Sibley officials from suing him.
City officials said they’d sue Harms if he didn’t stop criticizing the odor problem from an animal food processing plant and talking with reporters about it.
OC…it’s censorship. :16
On Thursday a judge approved a permanent injunction prohibiting city threats. The city agrees to pay Harms $6,500 in damages and $20,000 in legal fees.
Harms moved his family to a different area of Sibley away from the plant because of the smell.
He says their personal situation has improved but the issue isn’t totally resolved:
OC……..a month maybe. :10
ACLU Legal Director Rita Bettis says the decision is a victory for “free speech”.
OC………for the 1st Amendment. :13
The city promises to hold First Amendment training and will not prevent Harms from launching a website under the address www.sibleystinks.com .