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Man settles lawsuit over Facebook arrest

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A man who was arrested after he called a Wisconsin police department racist on Facebook has settled a federal lawsuit alleging officers violated his rights.

Thomas Smith’s attorney announced Tuesday that Smith has reached a $35,000 settlement with the village of Arena and Officer Nicholas Stroik. The village’s attorney didn’t immediately return an email.

Smith posted comments calling Arena officers racists in 2012. According to court documents, Stroik deleted the comments and police arrested Smith that night. Smith was ultimately convicted of disorderly conduct and unlawful computer use.

An appellate judge threw out the case last year, saying Smith’s comments were protected free speech. Smith filed the federal lawsuit in November, alleging the prosecution was an unreasonable search, violated his equal protection rights and would likely deter free speech.

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