Friday, February 04, 2005

How to Give a Cop the Finger and Get Away With It

At first glance, this story sounds like an instance of a cop having a bad day, and taking it out on some poor foolish motorist.

Stephen Corey, 42, filed a federal lawsuit because he says he had a First Amendment right to flip his middle finger at the trooper in July.

Trooper Samuel Nassan III gave Corey, a flight attendant from Pittsburgh, a ticket for following another vehicle too closely, then wrote him up for giving "an improper hand signal while passing my patrol car, namely middle finger up," according to Corey's lawsuit.

My initial impression was that the driver was acting a little jerky, but the trooper was being an even bigger jerk for punishing his indiscretion. But this is about more than displaying half of a peace sign:

Nassan chuckled when told of the lawsuit - but said the ticket was proper because he said Corey gave him the finger as part of a gesture that indicated he was changing lanes, making it an improper turn signal. Nassan also acknowledged that Corey has a right to give him the finger under some circumstances.

"Absolutely, he has a right to shoot his middle finger at me unless it's in plain view of the motoring public," Nassan said.

There you have it, folks! Here in Pennsylvania, you have carte blanche to drive around giving everyone the finger -- as long as you do it while making a turn.

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