John Settle-Opinion-May 2015The question for the day: When is a Facebook posting a threat to life and limb? Does a posting under a picture of a person holding a fishing rod saying that “I know him personally and it bothers me that that rod is not shoved down his throat” a threat? The picture was of Caddo Commissioner Matthew Linn.

Linn signed an email to Caddo Sheriff Prator  as “Matthew Linn Caddo Commissioner” complaining about this posting. Linn said the posting “by Kathryn Bloomfield would not be as bothersome if she did not work as an attorney for the Public Defender’s Office/Caddo Parish. In her role as a public defender she is in constant contact with people who may feel they owe her a favor for her representation of them in court…My only concern is that someone she represents may want to do her a favor…”Commissioner Matthew Linn

Linn then asks Sheriff Prator “Are you able to assist me in placing a peace bond against her so that she no longer prints my name? Will you contact her and request she remove the threat? Will you contact her office to discuss how unprofessional this post is as a representation of the Caddo Public Defenders Office?”

The investigating officer, to his credit, deemed the posting to “an opinion or simply a statement” and requested guidance from Sheriff Prator. Thereafter a detective contacted Ms. Bloomfield to discuss the posting—advising  her that his call “was an attempt to keep the issue/dispute from escalating in the future.”

Attachment-1Public watchdogs have many questions about the propriety of Linn complaining to Sheriff Prator and his not so subtle attempt to limit her rights of free speech—and to interfere with her employment by a public agency. Additionally , concerned citizens question if the Sheriff’s office should have taken any action on a matter that could not be subject of litigation between 2 private citizens—one of whom just happens to be a highly paid part time elected official.