January 3, 2013

Flipping Off Police Officers Constitutional, Federal Court Affirms

Huffington Post:

WASHINGTON -- A police officer can't pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.
In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the "ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity."
John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York's disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.


Anonymous said...

Free speech reins, eh? I've got to wonder if the appeals are now exhausted.

Thanks for this story, Sam.


flip said...

The problem with this story is the lack of reporting. Like how much did this guy spend to fight this.
I will tell you that this is bad idea and I speak from experience.
I was outside my house watering the trees and the police helicopter starts circling me and on the third lap I gave him the finger. It was less than three minutes later that his grounded counterparts showed up in force pissed off.They said there was a report of a burglary in progress and that was the cause of the copters circling me. I told them I was watering and I lived there and have for 25+ years and had not broken any laws so they had to go. That helicopter pilot has been buzzing my house or neighborhood much more often than previously.
You would be surprised how a copter constantly doing that can get under a persons skin.

Anonymous said...

You have the right to flip off the police, as long as you're not fool enough to actually try it.