A police officer can’t pull you over just because you flip him the bird. That’s the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals in a case involving a man who gave a finger to an officer who was using a radar gun to catch speeders.
John Swartz was the passenger in a car being driven by his wife, Judy Mayton-Swartz, as the couple was on their way to visit their son’s house, back in 2006. When they spotted the radar-wielding officer, John stuck his arm out the window and showed his middle finger. The officer followed the couple to their son’s house, where John was arrested for disorderly conduct after other officers arrived as backup.
The officer who initially followed and stopped the couple said he did so because John appeared to be trying to get his attention by waving his middle finger. The Court wasn’t in the mood to buy that particular argument. In his ruling, Circuit Judge Jon O. Newman wrote, “This ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity. Surely no passenger planning some wrongful conduct toward another occupant of an automobile would call attention to himself by giving the finger to a police officer.”
A District Court dismissed the lawsuit in 2011 and the U.S. Court of Appeals vacated that ruling and ordered the case to be reviewed by the lower court again. (Raw Story)
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