You must read this September 15th TIME magazine article - maybe even print it or otherwise save it. If nothing else, it's good for an afternoon laugh. But it's good for something else, too.
David Hackbart, a 34-year-old Pittsburgh paralegal, flipped off a police sergeant who had observed him to express his displeasure toward a rude driver behind him.
The sergeant ticketed Hackbart for disorderly conduct under a state law that forbids obscene language and gestures. In March a District Court judge ruled that the law (and the $119 fine and costs) was unconstitutional.
The article also mentions a Pennsylvania woman who swore at her overflowing toilet and had been arrested. That one cost the City of Scranton, Pennsylvania, $19,000.
Recently, the City of Woodstock bashed one of its officers for flipping off a City Councilman and ordered him to stay away from the Councilman. Maybe, in view of court action elsewhere (and probably in many places), any discipline for that incivility was wrong. While it might not be the best of manners, is it disciplinable? Legally, I mean.
Should the City of Woodstock review that action and rescind that portion of its punishment?
"Hackbart ... says police should not be able to punish people by issuing citations they know to be unconstitutional." Well, duh...
I don't recommend driving around and flipping off police officers or deputies!