Florida Politics by Jacob Ogles
January 15, 2020
A Lee County activist filed a federal lawsuit against state Rep. Spencer Roach accusing the lawmaker of suppressing his free speech.
Randy Scott, who runs the Facebook Group People of SWFL, said the lawmaker trampled his free speech rights by deleting comments posted on an official page.
The legal action notably comes shortly after the lawmaker called deputies to Scott’s home to investigate a Facebook message perceived as a violent threat. Deputies interviewed Scott but did not detain him or charge him with any crime.
But Scott said this lawsuit focuses on Roach’s online actions.
“It’s more about maintaining the First Amendment and doing the right thing in response to it,” Scott said. “It has little to do with him calling the cops, yet him calling the cops has everything do with my First Amendment rights.”
Scott writes in his lawsuit that on Jan. 8, Roach posted about a recent trip with other officials to the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. When several officials commented on the post, Scott made his own comments, which were subsequently deleted. Roach also blocked Scott from viewing the page.
The next day is when Roach called authorities on Scott over a post on People Of SWFL, alluding to a coming “reckoning” for the North Fort Myers Republican. The post alluded to a recent U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.