Free as a Bird: Showing Middle Finger to Police Officer = Constitutionally Protected Speech
Every reasonable officer should know that, says the Sixth Circuit.
Officer Matthew Minard pulled over Debra Cruise-Gulyas for speeding. He wrote her a ticket for a lesser violation, known as a non-moving violation. As she drove away, apparently ungrateful for the reduction, she made an all-too-familiar gesture at Minard with her hand and without four of her fingers showing. That did not make Minard happy. He pulled her over again and changed the ticket to a moving violation—a speeding offense and what counts as a more serious violation of Michigan law. Because Cruise-Gulyas did not break any law that would justify the second stop and at most was exercising her free speech rights, we affirm the district court's order denying Officer Minard's Civil Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings….