People use Facebook for a number of different reasons. Some like to be able to share pictures and posts about their family with relatives and friends who live both near and far, others like to use it to keep social with their friend group, or read and share news stories, and some use it to air the frustrations about an ex in the hopes that their Facebook friends will lend a sympathetic ear. However, when on Georgia woman did just that she not only earned sympathy from her friends, but she found herself arrested and locked inside a jail cell.
It was back in 2015 when Anne King, a single mother of two children, took to the social media site to write a post about her ex-husband. Both of King's children were sick that evening and she was frustrated that their father refused to bring over more medicine to her house. “That moment when everyone in your house has the flu and you ask your kids' dad to get them (not me) more Motrin and Tylenol and he refuses," she wrote and posted on her Facebook page.
Her ex-husband, Washington County deputy sheriff Corey King, was not amused, and according to Fox 5, he brought King's Facebook post to local magistrate Judge Ralph Todd. What happened next is almost unbelievable. Anne King was arrested and accused of “criminal defamation” because she had made “derogatory and degrading comments… for the purpose of provoking a breach of the peace.” Anne King was handcuffed and placed in a jail cell for five hours, as was a friend who posted a comment on her initial post.
It turns out however that the criminal defamation law that Judge Todd cited when he Anne King was arrested had been struck down in 1982 meaning Anne King hadn't even committed a crime. In January of 2017 Anne King filed a federal lawsuit charging that her ex-husband and Capt. Trey Burgamy used their positions to violate her civil rights, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Judge Todd, who was a retired postal worker who never went to college nor law school and was elected to his seat, something that allowed in Georgia, was granted immunity.
First Amendment attorney Cynthia Counts, who represented Anne King in her lawsuit against Washington County told Fox 5, “You need to make sure people are not being jailed for issuing opinions, saying things. We’d have the whole state in jail if that were really ok.”
I’m so thankful for everyone that supported me through this. 💞 https://t.co/L6fPvKDaP2— Anne King (@aking98) October 17, 2019
This month both sides settled the case, and Anne King not only received a check for $100,000 but a written apology from her ex-husband and Burgamy.“We apologize for the pain caused and time wasted including Ms. King being charged and arrested with respect to what was really a personal dispute that should have ended without the involvement of the courts," the apology read.
As for Anne King, she said that “I felt small and helpless," when it first happened. "And now I feel… I’m a giant now.”