In the harsh Facebook world, Aaron Borrego of Santa Fe believes he has taken an illegal ban from prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies.
Borrego, 36, filed a lawsuit against the First District Attorney this week, alleging his right to freedom of expression was violated because Carmack-Altwies’ office removed his comments and banned him from his Facebook page.
In comments on Facebook, Borrego protested the decision by Carmack-Altwies in May to allow demonstrators who had torn down the soldiers’ memorial in the plaza a distraction from the prosecution. He was blocked by prosecutors on July 1, the lawsuit said.
Borrego, a real estate investor, filed the lawsuit in the First Judicial District Court. Carmack-Altwies is the District Attorney for the Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Rio Arriba counties.
Borrego said Thursday afternoon that as a native of Santa Fe, he was “extremely distressing to see someone destroy our local space and culture”. He said the demolition of the obelisk deserved a crime charge.
On the Facebook page, he asked, among other things, whether the public prosecutor’s office would provide a pre-trial diversion “for a suspected shooter,” according to the lawsuit.
But Borrego said his lawsuit was about being banned from the prosecutor’s Facebook account for criticizing them.
“This is a freedom of expression lawsuit,” he said in an interview. “This is one of our rights that must not be violated on any level.”
Prosecutors said the lawsuit had not been served and did not want to comment.
Borrego’s attorney Kenneth Stalter said similar lawsuits had been successful elsewhere. In one, he said, federal courts did not allow President Donald Trump to block critics from his Twitter account for using it as a public forum to convey his views. The US Supreme Court overturned that ruling after Trump was voted out of office.
When asked about Trump’s removal from Twitter, Stalter said it was a private company’s decision, rather than an official’s decision to remove a critic’s comments from a public forum.
That is an “inadmissible view-based restriction of freedom of expression”, it says in the lawsuit.
The lawsuit demands compensation for unspecified damages and legal fees. It also calls for an injunction against Borrego’s lock and a permanent order to lift him.