It is so common for police to arrest citizens for flipping them off, usually under disorderly conduct charges, that American University legal scholar Ira P. Robbins published an extensive paper on the subject in 2008, going back decades in case law, clarifying that unless the obscene gesture is accompanied by “fighting words,” or words that convey a threat, it is considered merely an expression, which means it is protected speech.
But despite this, prosecutors insist on prosecuting these cases, most likely because way too many judges refuse to acknowledge the Constitutional protections of this act.
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