SAN DIEGO (CBS/AP) — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has taken down its Facebook page after a man accused it of violating his free speech rights and sued for deleting his comments.

UT San Diego reports (http://bit.ly/11toyH5 ) that Dimitrios Karras filed a federal lawsuit on Oct. 27 alleging the department violated his First Amendment right when it deleted two Facebook posts critical of Sheriff Bill Gore and then banned him from further commenting.

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Karras’ lawyers say sites like Facebook are the new public forum and if comment is allowed, all citizens should be able to voice their opinions.

The county’s counsel argues Karras’ comments didn’t follow posted participation guidelines and were off topic.

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A similar lawsuit was settled with the Honolulu Police Department agreeing to allow unrestricted posting.

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