NY court: Flipping finger at cops not worth arrest

Court reinstates New York lawsuit brought by man who gave finger to officer

Published On: Jan 30 2013 01:56:54 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 03 2013 07:38:56 PM EST
NEW YORK -

A federal appeals court in New York has reinstated a lawsuit brought by a man who was arrested after giving the finger to a police officer and sued for what he calls a malicious prosecution.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday restored the claim brought by John Swartz and his wife after their May 2006 encounter with police as they drove through the upstate New York village of St. Johnsville, 50 miles west of Albany. The couple is seeking unspecified damages.

A lower court judge in Albany had tossed out the claim after police maintained they stopped Swartz's car because they feared the finger gesture was a sign of a domestic dispute.

The appeals court says such a conclusion is unreasonable given "the nearly universal recognition that this gesture is an insult."