July 14, 2024

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Arrested for giving police officer the middle finger: American man awarded US$175,000 in damages

Arrested for giving police officer the middle finger: American man awarded US5,000 in damages

An American man who was arrested, handcuffed and jailed for an hour by a police officer for giving him the finger has reportedly been awarded US$175,000 in damages.

“I hope that with this settlement, the Vermont State Police will avoid silencing criticism of its officers or conducting baseless traffic stops. At least now I can pay my attorney. […] and take my 88-year-old mother out for a nice dinner,” said keynote speaker Gregory Bombard in a press release Wednesday, NBC News reported.

In the winter of 2018, Vermont State Police Officer Jay Riggen allegedly raised his middle finger in her direction when she forced a man driving a Mazda to pull over on the side of the road.

“Do you need anything? Because it was like you looked straight at me and put your middle finger in my face,” the police officer later told the driver, according to images from the police car’s onboard camera shared by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Exposure (FIRE).

But the driver reportedly denied raising a finger in the police officer’s direction.

But seconds after driving off, the police officer turned on his sirens again, loudly pointing the insult at Gregory Bombard before raising his middle finger in his direction again.

This time, he allegedly arrested him for “disorderly conduct” and handcuffed him to the police station, where he was held for an hour before being released.

A criminal charge was filed against him, before being dropped almost a year later.

The individual would have chosen to file a complaint against the police department for violating the Fourth Amendment, freedom of expression, and the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

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“Police must respect everyone’s First Amendment rights — even for things they find offensive or insulting,” said Hilary Rich, attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Vermont.

A settlement worth $175,000 US (approximately $238,000 Canadian) was reached Wednesday, with Vermont police confirming the resignation of the police officer involved.