Three police officers were recently filmed arresting a man for using "foul language" in Caldwell, Idaho, which the cops said was "disorderly conduct" (video below).
The man, who wants to be identified as IR Pedro, told The Free Thought Project that he gave the finger to one of the cops: "I flipped him off as he was driving [past] me. I didn’t notice this, but he turned around and parked until I came out of the gas station."
"My ride just showed up, and as I’m getting into my car, I notice this SUV almost ramming the car," Pedro added. "I get out my phone and immediately start recording."
In the video, the officer repeatedly tells Pedro that he is there to provide some kind of "help" that Pedro needs, which Pedro repeatedly denies.
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When Pedro asks the officer if he is being detained, the officer refuses to say, and asks Pedro twice if he is "educated."
The cop repeatedly asks to see Pedro's ID, again under the claim of trying help him and make sure that he is OK.
In an abrupt change from his multiple offers of help, the officer tells Pedro that if he doesn't give him his ID then he going to go to jail for "obstructing and delay."
After Pedro insists that he has not committed any crime, the officer says that Pedro "needs some help," which, once again, Pedro denies.
As two more police cars pull up, the officer tells Pedro that they all are there to determine if he needs help.
The officer tells the other two cops that a "citizen flagged" Pedro, but does not mention any crime.
"I flipped your punk f----- friend, officer wherever the f--- he is," Pedro tells all three cops. "And that's it, you guys are bothering me."
"Do you realize that's disorderly conduct when you're using that kind of foul language in front of women and children?" says a second officer, who does not cite any laws.
The officers then approach Pedro, and the second cop tells him, "You're under arrest for disorderly conduct."
The Marshall Project noted in 2015 that numerous state Supreme Courts have ruled that people may use obscene language at police officers as long as there is no threat or "fighting words."
The state Supreme Court of Connecticut ruled that giving the middle finger to police was not obscene: "To be obscene the expression must be, in a significant way, erotic. … It can hardly be said that the finger gesture is likely to arouse sexual desire. The more likely response is anger."