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KNIGHTSTOWN, Ind.–The town of Knightstown has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union, with a complaint saying the town kicked people off of its police department’s Facebook page because they made comments that were critical of the police.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the former Knightstown Chief of Police Christopher Newkirk, who has kept up with the Facebook page since leaving the department. He says in the suit that after he left several comments the department banned him.

The lawsuit also says the department banned as many as 26 people from commenting, for leaving critical comments, and says the town’s actions “represent viewpoint-based discrimination, in violation of the First Amendment to the Unites States Constitution”.

The lawsuit documents list several examples of comments left by Newkirk, the first volley regarding money being spent on new decals for the city’s patrol cars. Newkirk criticized his former department, saying the old decals were under warranty and any new ones should be done for free.

After these comments, Newkirk was banned from the page. He made a public records request to begin looking into how it is determined who gets to comment. The ACLU suit says the town has no standards in determining who can and cannot comment.

“The First Amendment protects people, who regardless of their views, attempt to hold the government accountable through expression,” said Gavin M. Rose, ACLU of Indiana Senior Attorney. “Knightstown’s practice of silencing citizens on Facebook who are critical of the police department’s actions or policies is unconstitutional.”

When reached for comment, the person who answered the phone at Knightstown Town Hall said the city offices were unaware of the suit.