Driver Who Flipped Off Police Wins Round in Court
New York appeals court reinstates lawsuit over arrest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 3, 2013 7:18 PM CST
You have the right to remain silent and maybe even to flip off an officer.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A federal appeals court in New York has reinstated a lawsuit brought by a man who was arrested after giving the finger to a police officer and sued for what he calls a malicious prosecution. The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals today restored the claim brought by John Swartz and his wife after their May 2006 encounter with police as they drove through the upstate New York village of St. Johnsville. The couple is seeking unspecified damages.

A lower court judge in Albany had tossed out the claim after police maintained they stopped Swartz's car because they thought Swartz was simply trying to get their attention, maybe because of a domestic dispute. The appeals court didn't buy it, saying such a conclusion is unreasonable given "the nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult." What's more, the court said the gesture is "not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity." It ordered a lower court to take up the case again. Click for more.

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Showing 3 of 31 comments
Tology
Jan 5, 2013 11:53 AM CST
Freedom of speech and expression. Cops can be real crybabies sometimes.
SilenceDogood
Jan 4, 2013 5:50 PM CST
While I agree that flipping off a cop is rude, in very poor taste and completely beyond acceptable behavior; I question if it is illegal. I do feel that to arrest a person for this transgression is a borderline abuse of the power “perceived” to be given to our police. Centurions should have the public’s respect, but Brownshirts should have our contempt; it is a balance that all peace officers must consider; We the People have entrusted them to keep the Peace, not to constrain our ability to speak our minds. In a Democracy anyone has the Right to scream at the top of their lungs that they disagree, and we must protect that right even if we think they are asses.
DougMasters
Jan 4, 2013 7:36 AM CST
Well when I was growing up we were taught to ignore jerkoffs. This includes people giving the finger so, I suppose I don't see what the big deal is. The dude flipped you off? So you gonna arrest him or whatever? Yeah real mature. I can tell you it isn't legal in my city to insult the police if you're an adult. I think that's bs, i should be allowed to say whatever I want in public.