Yes, we do have the right to flip off cops
As much as cops hate to hear us say it, we pay their salaries. They work for us. They are public servants.
No different than any other government employee.
And the Constitution guarantees us the right to use profane language against them, including the physical act of extending our middle fingers in a flip off gesture against them.
Hell, even NWA were never arrested for singing “Fuck the Police” back in the 1990s.
But before NWA, there was Miami’s own 2 Live Crew, who were arrested in a Broward club for singing obscene songs in a case that was dismissed in court.
The rap group shot back with the song Banned in the USA (above video) and the song Fuck Martinez, which was a reference to Florida Governor Bob Martinez as well as to Broward County Sheriff Nick Navarro, who had ordered the group arrested.
So why is a Pittsburgh man having to defend this right in a federal suit after he was cited for flipping off an officer?
That’s the question that Time Magazine is asking in an article this week about a man named David Hackbart.
In 2006, Hackbart was trying to back into a parking space but the car behind him wouldn’t give him enough room. So Hackbart flipped the driver off, telling him to back up.
Hackbart then heard a voice tell him to not make the rude gesture in public. Hackbart turned around and flipped that guy off.
Only the second guy was a cop who cited him for, what else but, disorderly conduct.
A judge ended up throwing the case out on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.
But that didn’t stop him from filing a lawsuit against the City of Pittsburgh for violating his First Amendment rights.
The Pittsburgh City Council did not want to take it to trial and agreed this week to dish out a $50,000 settlement.
So anybody who tells you that it is illegal to flip off a cop, I know somebody who will be willing to bet $50,000 that it isn’t.
To quote an ACLU official who explains the term “contempt of cop,” which we are all familiar with on this blog.
“The law is clear that people have the constitutional right to use profanity, especially when it comes to government officials, because that is a form of political speech,” Walczak says. “But despite that, we have police officers regularly misapplying the law to punish people who offend them — that’s really what it comes down to.”