An appellate court in New York recently determined that giving the finger to a cop is not sufficient probable cause for an arrest. A passenger in a vehicle flashed the bird at a cop in a speed trap. Naturally, the cop took off after the car. Words were exchanged between the couple in the car and the officer, which eventually resulted in the passenger’s arrest. After the charges were dismissed, the couple sued the officer for violations of their civil rights. The officers attempted to avoid liability by claiming they properly stopped the vehicle after receiving the finger since they thought that was a sign that somebody was in distress or in trouble. The appellate court found the reasoning humorously off base and the traffic stop unconstitutional.
Swartz,e t al. V. Insogna, et al. , No 11-2846 (2nd Cir. 2013).