Showing middle finger to police officers now `legal` in US
New York: A police officer can’t pull anyone over and make an arrest for showing them the middle finger, a US court declared on Thursday.
In a 14-page opinion, the US 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,” the Huffington Post reported.
John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers, who arrested John in May 2006, after he flipped off an officer, who was using a radar device at an intersection in St Johnsville, NewYork.
John was later charged with a violation of New York’s disorderly conduct statute, but they were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.
A federal judge in the Northern District of New York had granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals erased that decision on Thursday and ordered the lower court to take the case again.
Richard Insogna, who stopped the couple when they arrived at their destination, had claimed that he pulled them over as he believed John had been trying to get his attention for some reason.
The appeals court ruled that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”
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