Baldwin, AL — Jonathon Hinote was out with a friend enjoying a boat ride this weekend when he was stopped, harassed and promised a citation for legally practicing his freedom of speech.
The incident began as Hinote was attempting to pull out into traffic. According to Hinote, he was trying to merge onto the highway, when Pritchard police officer Lopez pulled behind him. Lopez, according to Hinote, became impatient and laid on his horn.
“I gave him the finger for beeping at me to pull out into oncoming traffic when I had a 20 ft trailer behind my truck,” recalls Hinote.
After Hinote had expressed his feelings about being honked at, the officer became enraged and proceeded to abuse his power.
Flipping the bird has been ruled to be free speech many times over. In fact, in a 14-page opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit addressed the specific action of flipping off cops when it ruled that the “ancient gesture of insult is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”
However, we’ve seen citizens pepper-sprayed, assaulted, and arrested for this act of free speech. And, as the video below shows, police could not care less about protecting your free speech if it’s something they don’t like.
“What gives you the right to flip me off at the intersection?” asks the officer, apparently oblivious to the Bill of Rights.
Hinote attempts to explain that the officer was honking at him which sparked the hand gesture.
“If somebody comes up to you and flips you off, what would you do?” asks the clearly oblivious officer.
Well officer, if someone flips off those of us in the citizen class, we can’t do anything about it, because it is an act of free speech and being offended gives you no legal right to initiate violence or attempt to detain that person at all.
However, because this officer has a badge and a gun, he is able to detain otherwise entirely innocent people for his own personal vendetta.
Hinote then proceeds to explain to Lopez that the Supreme Court has, in fact, ruled that flipping the bird is 100 percent protected — even when it’s aimed at police officers.
When the officer is schooled on the law, he does what many other officers do and tries to turn freedom of speech into ‘disorderly conduct.’ But he’s dealing with someone who clearly knows his rights.
“Am I being detained?” asks Hinote.
“Yes, see those blue lights? You are being detained,” replies officer Lopez.
Hinote knows he did nothing wrong, so he stands his ground. Eventually, the officer realizes he has no legal basis for the stop and backs down, but not before threatening an act of extortion through the mail.
Below is an example of how police can and will act out their rage with impunity — for the simple fact they have a badge and a gun.