Federal Appeals Court Rules Giving Police Middle Finger Protected Under Constitutional Free-Speech Rights
A federal appeals court said Wednesday that a Michigan woman’s constitutional rights were violated when she was handed a harsher traffic ticket after giving the middle finger to a Detroit police officer in 2017, according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit’s 3-0 decision will allow Debra Cruise-Gulyas’s lawsuit to proceed.
Cruise-Gulyas claims in her lawsuit that Taylor, Michigan, police officer Matthew Minard pulled her over for speeding, initially writing her a ticket for a lesser violation. But after giving him the middle finger, Minard allegedly pulled her over again and changed the ticket to a speeding ticket.
The court ruled that Minard, “should have known better” when giving the second ticket.
Judge Jeffrey Sutton wrote that while Cruise-Gulyas was “ungrateful” in the situation, Minard was ultimately in the wrong.
“Fits of rudeness or lack of gratitude may violate the Golden Rule,” Sutton wrote. “But that doesn’t make them illegal or for that matter punishable or for that matter grounds for a seizure” of a motorist.