Patriot Prayer leader sues Battle Ground mayor

Civic Affairs

Mayor Mike Dalesandro blocked Joey Gibson on Facebook

Joey Gibson speaks outside the Multnomah County Justice Center before surrendering to a felony riot charge, Aug. 16, 2019. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore, (KOIN) — Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson is suing Battle Ground Mayor Mike Dalesandro, claiming Dalesandro infringed on his First Amendment rights.

The tort claim notice asserts that Mayor Dalesandro blocked Gibson on Facebook so he couldn’t comment under any announcements made on the mayor’s page. It also claims that Dalesandro “did this to impact the current election so that he could make public statements while silencing his critics such as Mr. Gibson.”

The Supreme Court recognized that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter provide “perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.” Due to this, public officials who utilize social media accounts but exclude persons for an “otherwise-open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees” is not permitted.

The claim was submitted by lawyer Angus Lee on behalf of Gibson. Gibson is seeking $100,000 in damages.

Gibson released the following statement in an email sent with the claim:

“Far-left Mayor Mike Delasandro went on a deceptive campaign to spread misinformation about Patriot Prayer and any candidate trying to unseat establishment city council members.  

“In response to people questioning his claims he started blocking people on social media to help his misinformation campaign.  This is illegal on any account used for official business, which he clearly was doing.  My rights have been violated by Delasandro numerous times.  I asked him several times to stop breaking the law.  His response was to unblock me but disable my ability to comment and defend myself against his lies. If he is speaking the truth then why is he afraid of citizens being able to comment?”

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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