- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2019

A court ruled this week that a woman was unconstitutionally pulled over after flipping a police officer off.

Michigan resident Debra Cruise-Gulyas was pulled over for speeding in 2017, but the police officer, Matthew Minard, showed her mercy and wrote her up for the lesser charge of a nonmoving violation.

When she drove away, the driver, as told by the court, “made an all-too-familiar gesture at Minard with her hand and without four of her fingers showing.”

This led to Officer Minard pulling over Ms. Cruise-Gulyas a second time and writing her the speeding ticket.

The driver sued, claiming it was within her First Amendment rights to flip the officer the bird.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit agreed with Ms. Cruise-Gulyas Wednesday in a 3-0 ruling, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton writing, “Fits of rudeness or lack of gratitude may violate the Golden Rule, but that doesn’t make them illegal or for that matter punishable.”

They also concluded that Officer Minard had conducted an “unreasonable seizure” in violation of the Fourth Amendment, ruling the first stop had ended and he did not have a legitimate reason to pull her over a second time.

Cruise-Gulyas did not break any law that would justify the second stop and at most was exercising her free speech rights,” the court wrote, with Judge Sutton adding, “Any reasonable officer would know that a citizen who raises her middle finger engages in speech protected by the First Amendment.”

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