Vt. man’s lawsuit claims giving cop the finger protected by Constitution

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 11:53 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 4, 2021 at 2:44 PM EST
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - The Vermont ACLU is suing a state trooper on behalf of a Vermont man who claims he had the right to “flip off” the cop.

In 2018, Gregory Bombard was pulled over by Tpr. Jay Riggen, who claimed Bombard gave him the middle finger.

Bombard denies it.

The ACLU says Bombard was detained and questioned by Riggen for several minutes, and once that was finished, Bombard cursed and gave the trooper the finger.

They say the trooper then stopped Bombard again, ordered him out of the car and arrested him for disorderly conduct. His car was towed.

The ACLU says the charge was eventually dismissed.

Bombard claims the initial stop not only violated his rights to be free from unreasonable seizure and false arrest but also that giving the “middle finger” to protest a police officer’s actions is free expression protected by the Constitution.

“It’s clear that every Vermonter has a right to freely express themselves and those rights don’t disappear because a public official is offended, especially when they are a police officer,” said Jay Diaz of the ACLU of Vermont.

Vermont State Police declined to comment citing the pending litigation.

Click here to read the complaint.

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