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Ohio man arrested for fake police Facebook page

PARMA, Ohio-- A suburban Cleveland police department said it has charged a 27-year-old man with creating a fake Facebook page that purported to be its actual page.

The Parma Police Department said Friday that Anthony Novak of Parma has been charged with a felony count of disrupting public services. The agency began investigating early this month when "The City of Parma Police Department" page showed up.

On March 2, 2016, Novak created a fake Facebook page that was nearly identical to the Parma Police Department's official Facebook page, CBS affiliate WOIO reported.

The fake account used the name "The City of Parma Police Department," and was set up in a manner in which it was similar to the department's official Facebook page.

The department's official Facebook page is listed as Police Station Government Organization under the name, "City of Parma Police Department."

The Parma Police Department would like to warn the public that a fake Parma Police Facebook page has been created. This...

Posted by City of Parma Police Department on Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Police say detectives worked with Facebook officials in their investigation of the page's origin and its removal.

An attorney for Novak said the case might raise First Amendment issues.

"It's an unusual case," attorney David Brown told Brown added that it was too soon to decide how he would approach Novak's defense.

Parma Lt. Kevin Riley said police recognize citizens' rights to exercise their freedom of speech, but they believe this went too far.

Police said Novak posted "derogatory and inflammatory" information.

The fake page had items about ways sex offenders could have their names taken off the state sex offender database. It also suggested it would be illegal to help the homeless for three months.

Police said Novak is scheduled to appear in Parma Municipal Court on Monday.

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