Some people might consider the following story to be fairly inconsequential. Many others, though, including a fair number of defense attorneys, personal liberty advocates and citizens across a broad spectrum, might see it in terms of how a commentator described it, as an "important victory for civil rights."
Events leading up to the tale's notable conclusion are easily enough told, as follows. A couple was driving through upstate New York. The husband, a passenger in the vehicle his wife was driving, espied a police officer pointing a radar device at them. The man was not a fan of that and, to show his displeasure, gave the officer what in common parlance is called "the finger."
That turned out to have consequences. Even though the wife had committed no traffic violation -- was not speeding, was not guilty of failure to yield, of driving on a suspended license or any other offense -- the officer stopped and detained them, calling backup in the process. After objecting, the husband was arrested for disorderly conduct. That charge was eventually dismissed.
Continue reading The middle finger and police interaction: an instructive tale