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Department Pays Man Who Gave Officer 'The Bird'

Department Pays Man Who Gave Officer 'The Bird'

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Kansas City Star via YellowBrix

April 16, 2010

OLATHE, KS – There is no doubt about it — people can legally give police officers the finger and tell them “f…you.”

It isn’t polite, but the Olathe Police Department found out recently that responding with a ticket can be costly.

In the latest in a long line of such cases nationwide, Olathe last week agreed that its insurance company would pay $5,000 after an officer ticketed a man for disorderly conduct for those two actions.

The driver, Scott Schaper, will get $4,000 and the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri will get $1,000 for legal fees. Olathe police also must train officers that they have to take such abuse.

Schaper used the finger and expletive in September, after an officer gave him a ticket for failing to yield at a stop sign.

He did it because he was taking his children to school and the traffic stop caused them to cry, said Doug Bonney, legal director for the ACLU chapter.

Courts nationwide have long held that when it comes to such cases, “saying (f…you) and using one’s middle finger to express discontent or frustration is expressive of conduct protected by the First Amendment,” he said.

In words that ring as a warning to police, Bonney said, “This is one of my favorite cases; I love the right to cuss.”

Olathe police referred questions to city spokesman Tim Danneberg, who said, “we will learn from it and go forward.”

While people can do such things, he said, “I don’t think it makes it appropriate for them to treat anyone that way.”

Any concerns the case will lead to a local decline in civility?

“I would say it’s Olathe, Kan.,” said Danneberg, where people are rarely going to behave in such a manner.

Wes Jordan, the outgoing president of an association of Johnson County police chiefs and the sheriff, said most departments train with “verbal judo” to teach officers to take some abuse.

“It’s not easy,” he said, “but it’s one of the requirements of the job.”

While police have to take it, don’t try to extend that finger or use the word in court.

Legal scholars say such behavior toward a judge can get you jailed for contempt.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    MIRT76

    11 months ago

    2 Comments

    Most are missing the point of the article. That is we, the police, can not be a victim of disorderly conduct. Namely obscene or offensive language. However, when the obscene language or jester is done in view or ear shot of the general public and it is documented / articulated to be, then the actor can be cited for disorderly conduct.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Acbas92418

    about 1 year ago

    2 Comments

    Who knew?! Thanks!

  • A_eagle_7_max50

    Samspade30

    over 4 years ago

    16 Comments

    I loved these two sentences I saw a judge give a man 90 days for contempt for doing just this. Ahhh the old double standard you just have to love it.

    While police have to take it, don’t try to extend that finger or use the word in court.

    Legal scholars say such behavior toward a judge can get you jailed for contempt.

  • Bronzestarribbon_max50

    csiguy

    over 4 years ago

    874 Comments

    Good article, but that just shows our kids thats its okay to act like an asshole and you can get paid for it. Oh this country!

  • Police_link_badge_max50

    HEYSARGE

    over 4 years ago

    16726 Comments

    Another stupid out come. !!!!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    BS

  • Masonb2_max50

    masonlee89

    over 4 years ago

    60 Comments

    I know that most of the people on this website are conservatives( from the comments on the gun articles) so less power for the government is better, right? I don't want to live in a world where police can ticket me (which can later lead to imprisonment) if they don't like my language.

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50

    skascooter007

    over 4 years ago

    2010 Comments

    BS

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    AChiefsWife

    over 4 years ago

    326 Comments

    What is our world coming to??? The law already has so little respect by people, now this. What is going be next?

  • Mass_tactical_max50

    john503

    over 4 years ago

    18 Comments

    Our Society......

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    over 4 years ago

    Yet another example of the American Criminal Lovers' Union at work...
    Funny how you almost NEVER see them standing up for law-abiding citizens who have their rights infringed upon...

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    BForJuvCor

    over 4 years ago

    846 Comments

    What a role model for the kids in the car. Have daddy give the nice policeman a suggestive gesture and accompanying remark! yeah that will teach them some manners and respect. While the ACLU gets paid maybe the Children and Youth Services can do a little citing and fining for the vulrgarities used in the presence of minorsa!

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    1051dispatcher

    over 4 years ago

    722 Comments

    What BS! Now you tell me that if the Officer "exressed" HIS discontent that he would be granted 5K? NOPE! The First Amendment only goes one way in these cases. I feel sorry for those kids. They see their dad acting like an ass and now they think it is ok. Well more than likely his children will be a "product" of their upbringing and the cops will have them to deal with in the future.

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    jprs89

    over 4 years ago

    516 Comments

    this is wrong from so many different angles. i don't have time to start the list

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    mcgev

    over 4 years ago

    4 Comments

    I grew up in Olathe and had my fair share of run ins with them when I was younger for having bottle rocket wars and other stuff like that, and they were, in my opinion, the most fair and nicest cops in the Kansas City metro area. I agree with the fact that he is protected by the first amendment, but that kind of behavior is inexcusable.

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