Is it Legal to Flip Off a Police Officer in Michigan?
How many times have you been pulled over, been frustrated with the situation and projected your frustration on a police officer by giving them "the finger"? I've been pulled over plenty of times, I've been driving for 33 years, getting pulled over is gonna happen.
Althought I have been pulled over and received tickets, I have never "flown the bird" to a police officer. I have no reason to give them "the bird", it was my fault for getting the violation. Some folks lose their composure and fly off the handle shouting expletives and flying the "finger".
Is it illegal to give police officers the finger? The answer is NO. This story comes straight from Michigan according to NPR:
In the sequence of events described by the court, a woman in Michigan, Debra Cruise-Gulyas, was pulled over in 2017 for speeding. The officer showed leniency, writing her up for a lesser violation known as a nonmoving violation. As she drove away, apparently insufficiently appreciative of the officer's gesture, Cruise-Gulyas made a certain gesture of her own. Or as the court put it, "she made an all-too-familiar gesture at [Officer Matthew] Minard with her hand and without four of her fingers showing."
Minard was not amused. He pulled her over again and rewrote the ticket for speeding. Cruise-Gulyas sued, arguing she had a First Amendment right to wiggle whatever finger she wanted at the police.
In a ruling this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed. "Fits of rudeness or lack of gratitude may violate the Golden Rule," wrote Judge Jeffrey Sutton for the 3-0 panel. "But that doesn't make them illegal or for that matter punishable."
It is well-settled that what Cruise-Gulyas did is protected by the Constitution, the court said. "Any reasonable officer would know that a citizen who raises her middle finger engages in speech protected by the First Amendment," Sutton wrote.
While the First Ammendment protects our right to free speech, isn't there a degree of class that we should have as humans?