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Sacramento Sheriff Loses Facebook Fight Over First Amendment

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones lost his battle to ban Black Lives Matters leaders from his Facebook page.

The social media scuffle ended up in federal court when BLM leader Tanya Faison sued Jones for banning her and Sonia Lewis and deleting her comments.

According to court documents, Sheriff Jones argued in part that Black Lives Matter has other outlets to get their message out rather than using his page which could harm his future campaigns. Judge Troy Nunley responded, "Regardless of Plaintiffs' ability to get their message out elsewhere, Plaintiffs' inability to post on Defendant's Facebook page is a burden on their speech."

RELATED: Sheriff Scott Jones Defends Blocking Inspector General, Black Lives Matter Activists Protest Meeting

"Our elected officials need to be listening to their constituents whether they agree with them or not. And that's part of the job he applied for," said Faison.

CBS13 reached out to the sheriff, his attorneys and his campaign consultants for comment. The department spokesperson said Jones was on vacation and wouldn't be available for comment until next week. According to court documents, Jones alluded to shutting his page down entirely should the court grant the injunction to which Judge Nunley responded, "Such harm would be self-inflicted. In any event, the harm of shutting down a Facebook page is far less than the harm of losing fiercely-protected First Amendment rights."

Judge Nunley ordered Jones to "unban" the BLM leaders, "retain them in unbanned status" and no longer restrict them from posting. Faison says she already has access to his page again.

"Finally justice is on the right side instead of the wrong side. There's no reason for an elected official to silence the people who are considered their constituents and that's what happened to us," said Faison.

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