Source: Fox News
The Wisconsin Institute For Liberty and Law has filed a lawsuit against the Marquette County Sheriff’s department on behalf of Amyiah Cohoon, a 16-year old high school student who was allegedly threatened with arrest for posting a coronavirus selfie on Instagram and allegedly causing a panic at school.
According to Fox News, Amyiah believes she contracted coronavirus while on a high-school affiliated band trip to Disney World last month, and developed an unidentified respiratory illness on the trip.
The teen was later hospitalized and put on breathing treatments, including an oxygen mask, but doctors didn’t diagnose her with coronavirus. An attorney for the teen says that doctors suspect she did have the coronavirus prior to being tested, but attribute the negative result to her being tested too late, reports the news agency.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the teen made two coronavirus-related posts after she was hospitalized, with the first post saying she contracted coronavirus. The second post said that she was “Winning the fight with Covid-19,” and featured a picture of her seemingly hooked up to an oxygen mask.
A school district administrator allegedly contacted the sheriff’s office to report the second post, and an attorney for Amyiah says that a deputy showed up to the family’s home with a screenshot of it, reports the news agency.
It’s unclear why the administrator contacted the sheriff’s office, but The Sentinel reports that the family had been warning staff members at the school about the events of the Florida trip.
After the family was reported, the administrator allegedly sent out a message to local families saying that the problem about coronavirus rumors had been addressed, and that the person who made the claims was just trying to get attention.
“There was a rumor floating out there that one of our students contracted Covid-19 while on the band trip to Florida two weeks ago,” said the administrator, who emphasized that there was “NO truth to this.”
Samuel Hall, an attorney for the sheriff’s office, denies that anyone threatened to arrest the teen, but revealed that “law enforcement acted at the request of school health officials in a good faith effort to avoid unfounded panic,” reports Fox News.
According to the New York Post, the lawsuit says that a deputy threatened to arrest the teen and her family if she didn’t delete the coronavirus post.
“The First Amendment’s protection of speech, especially online speech, is as vital as ever during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” reads the lawsuit. “This case is about preserving the right to share our experiences with each other during this difficult time.”
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the attorney for the sheriff’s office has claimed that the case is “nothing more than a 2020 version of screaming fire in a crowded theater,” a reference to speech that is not constitutionally protected because it causes a “clear and present danger,” and brings about the “substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent.”