Atlanta Teens Arrested Over Website

Affiliate: ACLU of Georgia
March 13, 1999 12:00 am

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ATLANTA, GA — A profanity-laden website proclaiming five Fayette county teenagers to be gang members has gotten the boys charged with a felony, the Atlanta Journal Constitution said today.

But, as the paper reports, the local sheriff acknowledged that the teens are wannabes, and not actual gang members.

The father of two of the boys cited told the paper that he did not understand the sheriffÕs departmentÕs harsh responses.

“One of their buddies last year jokingly created a Web page and put five people’s names on it,” he said of his sons, the elder a 17-year-old who was arrested at school. “It’s just five kids who live in the neighborhood,” he told the paper.

Debbie Seagraves, Executive Director of the Georgia chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told the paper that the sheriff’s department has violated the boys’ First Amendment rights.

“If they break the law in the real world, not the virtual world, that’s a different matter,” she said. “If they are punished for telling other kids about their group, that’s a clear violation of their rights.”

Source: The Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 13, 1999

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