A 27-year-old Parma man faces possible criminal charges that accuse him of creating a parody Facebook account that mimicked the Parma Police Department's official page.
Anthony Novak, 27, of Pinegrove Avenue faces a possible felony count of disrupting public services for the page that investigators said he created March 2.
The page contained what Parma police considered "derogatory" and "inflammatory" information that appeared as though it was coming directly from department officials, Lt. Kevin Riley said.
The page featured a number of fake news items, made up crimes and other jokes that took a swipe at the department. One post was a phony explanation for how the department goes about selecting its new recruits:
"The test will consist of a 15 question multiple choice definition test followed by a hearing test. Should you pass you will be accepted as an officer of the Parma Police Department."
The page has since been deactivated.
Attorney David Brown, who was retained by Novak Friday, said that the case might have the potential to raise some First Amendment issues, but he stressed that it was too early in the case to decide how he will approach his defense.
"It's an unusual case," Brown said.
Riley said that while the department recognizes Parma citizens' rights to exercise their freedom of speech, department officials believe the parody page went too far.
"In this particular case, we believe the material that Novak posted on the fake account crossed the line from satire to an actual risk to public safety," he said. "We presented the facts of this case and the investigation to our law department and they agreed that Novak's actions were criminal in nature."
The case will go before a grand jury that will decide what, if any, charges Novak could face.