Giving a Police Officer the Middle Finger Is Legal Now

By Jaklitsch Law Group of Jaklitsch Law Group on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

police-radar.gif

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.

A federal judge in the Northern District of New York granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals on Thursday erased that decision and ordered the lower court to take up the case again.

Richard Insogna, the officer who stopped Swartz and his wife when they arrived at their destination, claimed he pulled the couple over because he believed Swartz was “trying to get my attention for some reason.” The appeals court didn’t buy that explanation, ruling that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”

Share

You may like these too

Total Loss of Vehicle Settlement Negotiations
When a car accident occurs, one of the first concerns you need to focus on is your health and well-being. Yet, there is also the need to consider your vehicle....
How to Increase Settlement Value in Maryland
In the event of any kind of accident, people are always curious about what their case is worth. The settlement negotiated in each case depends heavily upon the details and...
What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Personal Injury Cases?
The term “statute of limitations” is a set of laws that define the period of time in which you must file a lawsuit following a criminal or civil situation, or...

Have something you need to Consult?

We’re always ready to help. Reach out to us to schedule a consultation. No need to worry about fees. This one is on us, so let’s discuss.