Maybe you've flipped someone the middle finger in your life. Maybe not. Denver's Shane Boor gave a cop the finger recently. How did the authorities respond to his conduct? A criminal harassment charge. But, the charges have been dropped by the state trooper's superiors, as giving the middle finger to police is not exactly a crime.
According to many experts, it's actually constitutionally-protected free speech.
So, why did Boor even give the trooper the finger? Boor, 35, was on his way to work when he saw the state trooper pull over another driver back in April, reports KDVR-TV.
As Boor drove by, he flipped the officer off. The officer interpreted this as an obscene gesture. Another officer then contacted Boor, who then confirmed that he did, in fact, flip off a state trooper, reports KDVR-TV. He was then cited for criminal harassment.
Boor was being represented for free by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU claimed that Boor's action was constitutionally-protected free speech, and that he had broken no laws, KDVR-TV reports.
Boor's criminal harassment charge, a misdemeanor, would have carried a sentence of up to 6 months in jail. Luckily for Boor, the Chief of the Colorado State Patrol dropped the charges stating that while the conduct was "offensive and demeaning" toward officers it was not enough to constitute an actual crime.
It makes sense to drop the charges, especially since this is not the first time that a person has flipped off the police. And, in the past, courts have ruled that giving the cops the middle finger is constitutionally protected. Swear words and "obscene" demonstrations like the middle finger all fall under the First Amendment.
But, if you give a cop the finger, charges may still be brought against you, as this recent case against Boor demonstrates. So while giving the middle finger to police officers may be in bad taste, at least the constitution is on your side.
- Man who gave trooper the finger has charge dropped (AP)
- Man Flips Off Cop, Will Likely Get $50K Settlement (FindLaw's Legally Weird)
- First Amendment Rights, the Middle Finger and Police Officers (FindLaw's Legally Weird)