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The official Twitter account of the Dixon, IL police department says it’s been “humanizing the badge since 2015.” But mixed in with their tweets about doughnuts and driving conditions are some unsettling moments, like this March 7 tweet that seemed to celebrate retaliatory arrest and unreasonable search and seizure. They shared this meme of Savage Patrick from “Spongebob Squarepants” looking as though he’s in the midst of a maniacally evil chuckle with the text “when you learn the person that just walked by and yelled ‘F*** the po-lice’ has a warrant”.
Defenders told critics to lighten up—the tweet was just a joke, and they did delete it. But others argued when the city of Dixon has paid $110,000 to settle out of court in a federal lawsuit charging unreasonable force in the arrest of a 49-year-old woman, perhaps the department's social media account shouldn’t be publicly gleeful about potentially unlawful arrests and abuses of power.
A federal jury found a Dixon sheriff’s deputy guilty of using excessive force against a 56-year-old man as well. Wilson Burnell was awarded $10,000 in damages, plus about $40,000 in attorney’s fees.
The Dixon Police Department Twitter account has many fans, but civil rights advocates say they have a history of questionable attempts at humor, like this “Release the hounds” tweet:
Or this one about finding out where they can find “drugs and wanted people”:
Oxygen has reached out to the Dixon PD for a comment and will update the story after receiving it.