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. (Read more middle finger stories.)