ACLU Defends Cussing at Cops

Lawsuits fault police for arresting potty mouths
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2010 3:50 PM CDT
Watch your mouth in Pennsylvania, especially around police officers.   (?bfhoyt)

(Newser) – Swearing is legal, but some institutions—including Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies—need a reminder, the ACLU tells the Philadelphia Inquirer. The organization is suing on behalf of two Pennsylvanians who were arrested and charged with scofflaw offenses for swearing in public; one of them called a police officer a "fucking asshole." Both individuals were ultimately cleared, but the ACLU wants to change policies: Pennsylvania state police issued 750 citations for profane language last year.

"Unfortunately many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime," says one ACLU lawyer. "The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech. We will continue bringing lawsuits until this illegal practice is stopped."

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