Indiana man sues claiming First Amendment right to give cops the finger
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An Indiana man who was ticketed for flashing a rude hand gesture at an Indiana State Police trooper filed a federal lawsuit last week claiming his constitutional rights protect his freedom of expression.

Mark May flashed a cop the middle finger in August after he said Indiana State Police Master Trooper Matte Ames cut him off to pull over another driver, according to the Tribune Star in Terre Haute.

Ames then pulled May over and gave him a ticket for provocation, a Class C infraction that carries a penalty of a fine up to $500.


In a lawsuit filed in the Southern District of Indiana by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, May argues his gesture is protected by the First Amendment.

“While perhaps ill advised, Mr. May’s gesture, which in no way interfered with the Master Trooper’s lawful activities, was fully protected by the First Amendment,” said Kenneth Falk, legal director for ACLU of Indiana.

Falk argues that Ames had no reason to pull May over and issue the ticket, which amounts to unconstitutional seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

May was found guilty in the Terre Haute City Court but had the conviction vacated in Vigo Superior Court, the Tribune Star reported.

May is a self-employed carpet cleaner and claims he lost two days' worth of income. He is suing for unspecified damages and attorney’s fees.