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ACLU lawsuit: Indiana man ticketed for giving state trooper the finger was a violation of constitutional rights

February 8, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
ACLU lawsuit: Indiana man ticketed for giving state trooper the finger was a violation of constitutional rights

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An Indiana man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that his constitutional rights were broken when he was given a ticket for flipping “the bird” to a State Trooper.

Mark May is seeking unknown damages against Police Master Trooper Matt Ames, according to the Tribune-Star, after a complaint was filed in court on Thursday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

May claimed in the lawsuit that in August 2017, he gave the middle finger to the state trooper after he alleges he was cut off by Ames, who was stopping another driver on U.S. Route 41.

May was given a “provocation” ticket — which carries a penalty of up to $500 — after he gave the trooper the gesture.

Kenneth Falk, the legal director of ACLU Indiana, contended that May’s behavior toward Ames was protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Mark May

“While perhaps ill-advised, May’s gesture, which in no way interfered with the Master Trooper’s activities, was protected by the First Amendment,” Falk said.

Falk also maintained that May’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated because the trooper “had no cause to initiate the stop.”

Captain David Bursten, the Chief Public Information Officer for Indiana State Police, told Fox News that the department had not yet been informed of the suit as of Friday — but said that “it takes several days” for the police unit to be notified after a lawsuit is filed.

May was found guilty in City Court when he tried to fight the ticket. However, the Vigo Superior Court dropped the conviction.

A self-employed carpet cleaner, May alleges that he lost income because of the court appearances he had to attend, and is also seeking attorney’s fees in the suit.

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