MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Nassau County Police Department has gotten caught up in a Facebook fight.
Someone has been posting negative comments online, and department leaders want to know who is behind it.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Nassau’s top cop is bracing for a legal fight against an anonymous Facebook user.
“It is clearly an abuse of power,” attorney Vincent Grande said.
Grande claims his client should be protected, and not outed for posting negative comments about acting police commissioner Thomas Krumpter and his department on Facebook.
He wrote under the pseudonym ‘Sue Reilly’ hoping to remain secret.
“My client who wishes to remain anonymous had some things to say. He feared retribution from the police department, so he created an alias on Facebook. For some reason, the commissioner feels he has the right and the power to subpoena to determine who this person is,” Grande said.
Krumpter’s unusual subpoena asks a supreme court judge to allow the department to learn the identity and account information of the Facebook user.
Justified — he said through a spokesman — because police need to maintain public confidence, which can be shaken when someone who appears to be connected to the department makes provocative or divisive comments.
“What good does it serve doing that? Especially in today’s time with the police getting hammered almost daily, and they are there to protect us,” Karen Cobin said.
“Freedom of speech is important. I think we should always recognize that and have that in our back pocket,” Paul Romano said.
The postings were taken down, so county residents were unable to read what was written about Krumpter’s personal or professional life.
“What’s the deal? Where’s the beef? Tell us what you are looking for,” Don Coburn said.
On Wednesday, a judge is expected to rule on whether this is a lawful and justified subpoena or an end run on probable cause with a stifling impact on free speech.
CBS2 reached out to Facebook, but a spokeswoman declined to comment.