American Atheists file suit against Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson

CLEVELAND, Tennessee (WDEF) – American Atheists have made good on their threat to take Sheriff Eric Watson to court.

They filed suit in federal court on Monday over the Sheriff’s Department Facebook page.

In March, they notified him about a complaint filed about a proselytizing Easter message from the Sheriff on the page.

He acknowledged the letter and responded in another post in April.

The American Atheists say they got more complaints that people were being blocked from the site if they were critical of his position.

“This lawsuit is about protecting the community’s First Amendment right to speak out about its elected officials,” said American Atheists’ National Legal Director, Amanda Knief. “The BCSO had no problem with public comments until they were critical of the sheriff or of his proselytizing at work. But the government doesn’t get to silence speech it doesn’t like, even if that speech is negative, unflattering, and disrespectful of the sheriff’s religion.”

The lawsuit seeks a restraining order against censorship of the Facebook page and preventing the sheriff from future proselytizing.

Categories: Bradley County, Local News

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