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Marquette County teen sues sheriff who ordered her to delete Instagram post

MADISON (WKOW) — A Marquette County teen has filed a federal lawsuit against the Marquette County Sheriff, who she says ordered her to remove an Instagram post about recovering from COVID-19.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty filed the lawsuit in federal
court Thursday on behalf of Amyiah Cohoon and her parents, Richand and Angela, against Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a patrol sergeant for violating the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

The lawsuit results from a March incident where Marquette County law enforcement threatened Cohoon and her parents with arrest unless an Instagram post was removed.

According to the lawsuit, Cohoon, a high school student, had a scare in March with COVID-19 and posted about her experience on Instagram. A few days later, a deputy sheriff showed up at her home and demanded that she remove her post or be cited for disorderly conduct, arrested and jailed.

The post showed a picture of the Cohoon while she was hospitalized for what doctors told her was likely COVID-19, with the caption, “I am still on breathing treatment but have beaten the coronavirus. Stay home and be safe.”

Cohoon had developed a severe respiratory illness in March after a spring break trip to Florida. After a visit to a local hospital, her symptoms worsened and she ended up at a hospital in Madison, according to a news release from W.I.L.L.

The teen tested negative for COVID-19 in Madison, but doctors told her that she likely had the virus but had missed the testing window, according to the news release.

The lawsuit asks a judge to rule that, "the Cohoon's Instagram posts were speech protected by the First Amendment and that Defendants’ threats to cite her or her parents for disorderly conduct and arrest and jail them if she did not remove her posts violated her First Amendment rights."

The suit also asks for, "nominal damages."

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Dan Plutchak

Social Media and Digital Content Manager, 27 News

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