March 14, 2019

It's a right to Flip the Bird

Timothy Birdnow

A court has ruled that extending one's middle finger is protected speech and that a police officer may not use it to justify stopping or ticketing a motorist.

According to the Washington Post:

That question, plucked from everyday life in the town of Taylor, Michigan, confronted the U.S.Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in the case of Debra Lee Cruise-Gulyas v. Matthew Wayne Minard, in which Cruise-Gulyas was the motorist and Minard the cop.

But Cruise-Gulyas told The Washington Post that she was unhappy because, according to her, the area where she was pulled over in June 2017 about 18 miles southwest of Detroit is a notorious "speed trap” for the Taylor Police Department.

"I know this is a bunch of B.S.,” she said, so "when I pulled off I gave him the middle finger.”

And Minard went to the appeals court claiming immunity from the suit, arguing that even if he did violate her rights, which he did not admit to doing, those rights were not clearly established.

Judge Jeffrey Sutton, writing for a unanimous three-judge panel Wednesday, disagreed.

While suggesting the woman was a bit "ungrateful,” the second stop was not reasonable and the officer should have known it, Sutton said.

To justify the second stop, he wrote, Minard needed "probable cause that she had committed” a violation.

He didn’t have it, the judge said. Giving the finger is not a crime. That "all too familiar gesture,” as he put it, is "protected by the First Amendment.”


Since there was no reason to believe she broke the law, he also violated her Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable seizure when he pulled her over again.

The officer pulled the motorist over initially for speeding but gave her a non-moving violation, he claims. It appears she disagrees. Given that police don't normally pull someone over then write a lesser charge I have little doubt she was NOL speeding and the cop was simply being a jerk. My own experiences with speed trap communities - and St. Loouis is full of them - is that any favors you receive are no favors at all as there never was a reason for you to be stopped.

While in this modern era of BLack Lives Matter abusing the police it is not good that cops be further restricted I do have to say I agree with the judge's reasoning; police are not a law unto themselves, and they do not have the right to arrest someone just because the person was not polite to them. It's not against the law to be a jerk, and it is not lawful to use the power of your office to settle a personal score.

The woman should have argued she's a Muslim and was making the "one" sign with her middle finger because her index finger was sore. I'd like to see them prosecute THAT up in Detroitistan.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:27 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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