DENVER — A man filed a federal lawsuit Monday, accusing the lead Democrat in the Colorado Senate of violating his First Amendment rights by blocking him from the Senate president’s Facebook page.
A man named Alexander Armijo of Pueblo claims his comment on Sen. LeRoy Garcia’s (D-Pueblo) Facebook page was deleted, and he claims he was blocked from commenting further on the page.
The complaint alleges Garcia uses the Facebook page to engage with the public, therefore blocking Armijo violates his free speech rights.
“If you’re a politician and you use Facebook or Twitter or any other social media to propagate your point of view and invite public comment you can’t censor what’s on it,” 9NEWS legal analyst Scott Robinson said.
“A private individual can always block someone they don’t like on Facebook or Twitter but that isn’t true if you’re using it as a political tool.”
In similar cases across the country, federal judges have ruled in favor of plaintiffs, Robinson said.
In one case involving President Trump, a judge ruled in favor of people who had been blocked by the president. The White House is appealing that ruling.
“The idea that a social media site could be a public forum, it may seem a little awkward, but in fact it serves the same purpose as a public meeting,” Robinson said.
Garcia has not commented on the lawsuit, but a spokesman for the Senate Democrats did.
“It is difficult to comment on something we haven’t officially received; however, I am concerned that Mr. Armijo and his attorney felt that notifying the press was more important than notifying the President,” spokesman Keith Barnish said in a statement.
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