File this one under “The stuff everyone should know in dealing with cops.” While not related to employment law or Minnesota, I think this is a story that needs to be told.
A federal court recently decided the case of a couple who were arrested for flipping a cop the bird. While the criminal case was thrown out for procedural reasons, the couple sued the officer for stopping their vehicle without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The court held that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.” Therefore, the stop was unreasonable.
The best part of this story is how the court completely threw this cop under the bus for trying to sell one whopper of a lie. The cop tried to explain that he pulled the couple over because he thought they were simply trying to flag him down for help. The court rejected this line of BS out of hand stating that the “nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult deprives such an interpretation of reasonableness.”
That is about as big of a smackdown as you can receive from a federal judge.