Can police ticket drivers for giving them the finger?

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A police office on the side of the road as he writes a ticket.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is chastising state police because a trooper ticketed a driver who gave him the middle finger.

President Marjorie Esman says the ticket alleged public intimidation, a felony. In a letter faxed to the Louisiana State Police on Monday, she says giving the ticket was illegal retaliation for protected free speech. Her letter also noted that a prosecutor refused to charge the driver.

State police spokesman Doug Cain says the agency is looking into the matter.

Esman says the issue arose Dec. 28, when a driver on Interstate 20 raised his middle finger while passing a parked trooper. She says the trooper pulled him over and ticketed him.

Esman urged state police to ensure officers understand the full scope of the right to free speech.

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