Court: Police can’t stop you for vulgar hand gestures
According to a recent court ruling, the Constitution protects your right to flip off a police officer, should you choose to do so. It’s essentially free speech, and they can\’t detain you or issue you a ticket just because they do not appreciate it.
The reason this issue ended up in court is that a woman was allegedly speeding when a police officer pulled her over. Rather than giving her a speeding ticket, he gave her a non-moving violation.
While many people may have been pleased just to get a smaller ticket, the woman was still angry that he had stopped her at all. She flipped him off as she drove away, after the stop was done.
Outraged, the officer pulled her over again. He got rid of the non-moving violation and gave her the speeding ticket instead.
The key to this entire thing is that he had to stop her again. She argued that he had no right to do so because she had not broken the law at that point. The court agreed, saying that it was fine that he pulled her over once for speeding. However, he then violated her rights by stopping her again to change the ticket.
Experts say that, while this case is important, one potential underlying issue is that it shows how people often have to take drastic steps and go through a lengthy court process just to make sure that police do not violate their rights. A lot of people won\’t do that. Consequently, things happen that never get reported.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, be sure you know about all of your legal rights.