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'Unwanted, unprovoked and disturbing': Woman says she's cyberbullied by local officers

KATU file image

A Chicago woman told KATU she was cyberbullied on Facebook by a police officer and a deputy from Salem.

A Salem Police Department spokesman said the officer was off duty and his comments were protected free speech.

But the woman, Liz McArthur, said the officer and Marion County deputy refused to stop harassing her even after she asked them several times to leave.

She said she doesn't know them.

Both men have since deleted their comments.

They didn't represent themselves as officers. McArthur's friends found that out by Googling their names.

"I definitely felt like I was being targeted or something," McArthur explained.

She said Sunday evening she posted a Huffington Post article about an upcoming women's march on Washington, D.C. along with the comment, "I am going."

"And then all of a sudden," McArthur said, "a strange man started just trolling my Facebook post."

McArthur said that strange man is James Coleman.

She said he started out posting a meme with a picture from the Disney film, "Frozen," saying, "Election is over. Let it go ... "

"Then he started tagging his friends and then his friends started doing it," McArthur said. "I was trying to dismiss them as much as they were dismissing me. I just kept saying 'get f***ed' every time they tried to address me. They kept tagging me and stuff."

McArthur said Coleman commented around a dozen times.

At one point he posted a link to a guide for Paxil, an anti-depressant, then commented, "Irrational ... turmoil ... tummy breath ... it will calm you..."

One of the men Coleman tagged, Chad Galusha, posted 21 comments -- many after McArthur repeatedly told him to "get f***ed."

He also tagged some of his friends, at least one of whom commented as well.

Several of Galusha's posts criticize Hillary Clinton and her supporters and voice support for Donald Trump.

One shows a picture of Clinton and the words, "The first woman in the U.S. to lose two presidential elections."

Another displays the Statue of Liberty in a bikini, saying, "Lady Liberty after a Donald Trump makeover!"

Galusha also posted a meme saying, "Just a troll fishing for liberals."

"I've never had this happen before," McArthur said. "I've never had strangers gang up on me for saying I want to go stand up for women's rights."

After McArthur's friends Googled the two men, they discovered Coleman is a sergeant with the Marion County Sheriff's Office and Galusha is a Salem police officer.

A KATU reporter sent both men multiple Facebook messages starting Thursday, emailed them and left them voicemails. They did not immediately respond.

In a letter to the Marion County Sheriff's Office, McArthur called the men's comments "unwanted, unprovoked and disturbing" and said she'd like them to at least apologize and promise never to do this again.

"I want to know that the policemen of my country aren't going after people for just saying what they believe in," McArthur said.

Lt. Chris Baldridge, spokesman for the sheriff's office, would only tell KATU they've received McArthur's complaint and are looking into it.

Regarding Galusha, Lt. Steve Birr, spokesman for Salem PD, said, "There was nothing that he did, according to the city attorney's office, that isn't protected First Amendment speech. He wasn't using his position as a Salem police officer ever in the fight itself … He wasn't representing the department in any way. It was not homophobic. It wasn’t anything. I mean, it's the internet.”

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