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Giving the bird to Police Officers is not cool.

A police officer can't pull you over and arrest you just because you gave him the finger, a federal appeals court declared Thursday.

In a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit ruled that the "ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity."

John Swartz and his wife Judy Mayton-Swartz had sued two police officers who arrested Swartz in May 2006 after he flipped off an officer who was using a radar device at an intersection in St. Johnsville, N.Y. Swartz was later charged with a violation of New York's disorderly conduct statute, but the charges were dismissed on speedy trial grounds.

A federal judge in the Northern District of New York granted summary judgement to the officers in July 2011, but the Court of Appeals on Thursday erased that decision and ordered the lower court to take up the case again.

Richard Insogna, the officer who stopped Swartz and his wife when they arrived at their destination, claimed he pulled the couple over because he believed Swartz was "trying to get my attention for some reason." The appeals court didn't buy that explanation, ruling that the "nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness."

Well just you try and flip me off and see what happens.


  • It sucks, but the officer can't be a victim for stuff like that, so you have to have a separate person who witnessed it say their peace was disturbed by the one-finger salute. Good luck lol
  • hate the cops? call a crack head next time lol
  • When someone flips me off, I just give them the peace sign. Of course, only one finger counts... :)
  • That's why there is a law in the NY VTL that states the unauthorized use of hand gestures. That's a summons. Let them go to court and fight that.
  • if it is out the window I write the for a turn signal violaltion when it goes to court I tell the judge I thought there were trying to use hand turn signals she knows me and my reasoning and finds them guilty
  • @roaddog100: love that! Now that's what I always called creative police work.
  • I will have to remember that one roaddog 100. Thanks.
  • Just smile and wave. But be sure to write down the tag number for that time you do catch them doing even the slightest infraction. And chances are good, you or a fellow officer will see them again.
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