Is giving the middle finger to a police officer protected speech? A recent Vermont case proved the answer is yes

June 27 – This is a case that goes back to 2018 in St. Albans, Vermont. 

Gregory Bombard was arrested for disorderly conduct after a traffic stop for giving the middle finger to a state trooper. 

According to reports, he spent about an hour in jail. Almost a year later, the charges were dropped, but Bombard was left with a whole lot of fees. 

Three years later, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression filed a civil complaint arguing that Bombard’s free speech rights had been violated. 

Yesterday, Bombard was awarded $175,000 from the state of Vermont. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “This is another example of you’ve got to know the law before throwing around taxpayers’ money.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “What’s baffling about these cases, we get them on our law hour list, this will make the list again for Saturday, it’s always baffling that police departments are not better trained when it comes to this. There is case law after case law that says it’s free speech, it’s protected speech If you give the middle finger to a police officer. We’re not endorsing that. We obviously don’t want you to do that, however, you’re allowed to do it. Time after time, you’ll see a citizen do this, and it’s usually a local police department, they’ll arrest the person, throw them in the slammer, maybe for a day or two under some kind of a disorderly conduct theory and 10 out of 10 times, not only is that person going to be found not guilty, the charges dismissed, but they’re going to get a blockbuster financial settlement from the police department, and that’s exactly what happened there in Vermont after this guy gave the middle finger to a St Albans’ police officer recently.”