FILE – In this March 28, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles police officers patrol a sparsely populated Venice Beach boardwalk in Los Angeles. At least three police officers in California have died so far from COVID-19 and officers have been urged to wear masks when they are interacting with the public. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
There have been a lot of crazy stories about governmental overreach surrounding the Wuhan coronavirus.
But this one has to be right up there among the wildest.
A high school sophomore, 15-year-old Amyiah Cohoon, from Wisconsin took a spring break trip to Florida with her school band in March. They returned earlier than anticipated on March 15, because of concerns about the virus.
But a few days later, Cohoon began to feel sick and then had trouble breathing.
From Journal Sentinel:
She was taken to hospitals in Portage and Madison over the next week. She tested negative for coronavirus on March 25, but doctors told her she likely had the illness but had been tested too late to get a positive result, according to the lawsuit.
She posted three messages on Instagram about her situation — one saying she wouldn’t be back for a while because she had coronavirus, one saying she might have to stay in the emergency room and one with her wearing an oxygen mask.
“I am still on breathing treatment but have beaten the coronavirus. Stay home and be safe,” she wrote in the last post.
Translation: she had a diagnosis from the doctors that she had it.
But what happened next is insane.
On March 27, her family got a visit from the police.
Sgt. Cameron Klump visited the girl’s home and told her father, Richard Cohoon, that Sheriff Joseph Konrath told him to get the latest Instagram post deleted or “start taking people to jail,” according to the lawsuit. Klump said the family could be cited for disorderly conduct as well.
Klump told Cohoon the sheriff wanted the post removed because there were no confirmed coronavirus cases in the county at the time. He said he was acting in part on a complaint from school authorities, according to the lawsuit.
Amyiah deleted the remaining posts.
This followed the school claiming there were no cases and that there was no truth to the claim that a student had the virus. They pretty much claim she made it up.
“This was a foolish means to get attention and the source of the rumor has been addressed,” he told the parents. “This rumor had caught the attention of our Public Health Department and she was involved in putting a stop to this nonsense. In times like this, the last thing we need out there is misinformation.”
Thinking it’s probably easy to show the doctors’ diagnosis and the trips to the hospital.
But seriously? Police going after a family for what a teen posted on Instagram? Maybe these guys and the police in Raleigh, N.C. need remedial education in the First Amendment?
The lawyers for the sheriff claim that the teen “caused distress and panic” and that this was like “screaming fire in a crowded theater,” trying to justify their actions.
That’s a pretty lame excuse. Not to mention that it sounds like there was, in fact, a “fire,” just one the school didn’t want to hear.
The family filed the suit seeking to prevent the sheriff from arresting them for free speech and “nominal damages.”