NY court: Flipping finger at cops not worth arrest

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 3, 2013 at 8:23 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013
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"It reaffirms that just because you insult a police officer doesn't give that police officer the right to detain you or arrest you and take away your liberty," he said.

Keach said Swartz was particularly upset because he was handcuffed and arrested in front of his grandchildren on Memorial Day.

Swartz was arrested after he reached his arm out the passenger side of a vehicle and over its roof and gave the finger to a local police officer after he saw the officer using a radar detector. Swartz and his wife, who were not speeding or committing any other traffic violation, then continued to the home of the wife's son. Once there, they got out of the car, and a police car arrived, its lights flashing, the appeals court said.

As Swartz walked to the car's trunk, he was ordered back in the car. He initially refused but later complied, the court said.

When an officer asked to see a driver's license and registration, Swartz told his wife not to show anything, prompting the officer to say, "Shut your mouth. Your ass is in enough trouble," the 2nd Circuit said.

After collecting the documents, the officer returned to his car and summoned backup, prompting three more officers to arrive at the scene. The officer then returned to the car, gave back the documents and told Swartz and his wife they could leave. Swartz got out of his car and asked to speak to the officer, but other officers blocked his path.

Swartz was arrested after he either muttered or shouted, depending upon who recalls the event, that he felt humiliated. A charge of disorderly conduct brought against him was dismissed.



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