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Lawsuit against Woodland Park claims civil rights violations

Posted at 11:11 PM, Aug 06, 2020

TELLER COUNTY — A lawsuit filed in Federal Court this week claims Woodland Park Police violated civil rights with regard to its social media policy.

The lawsuit, filed by Delbert Sgaggio, names the City of Woodland Park, the Woodland Park Police Department, Chief Miles De Young, and several officers and city employees identified as John Does 1-99.

The lawsuit centers around comments from the search of a home in 2018.

Sgaggio said he posted comments critical of WPPD on a Facebook post about a search for an illegal marijuana grow that were deleted. He said he eventually was blocked from commenting on the department's posts.

He said he posted similar comments on the city's Facebook page which were also deleted and said he was banned from commenting on that page as well.

Sgaggio included screenshots of his comments.

He said he also posted on the Teller County Sheriff's Department page, but his comments were not removed and he was not banned.

Sgaggio's lawsuit says because the city and police department use their Facebook pages as an official means of communication with the public, it is a violation of his First Amendment rights to remove his comments and to prevent him from commenting.

Woodland Park Police later posted that they would not "edit or alter any posts" on social media sites, but that they reserve will remove comments that "do not promote civil discussion or do not adhere to our post/comment policy," including the use of vulgar language, personal attacks, abusive comments, and other rules.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages from the city, and compensatory and punitive damage from the individual defendants

Click here to read the lawsuit filing.