The Southern Center of Human Rights recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of Boyd Green against the sheriff and deputy sheriff in Whitfield County, Georgia.
Green was arrested after he used some profanity during a 911 call (video below), noted PeachPundit.com.
According to a press release by the Southern Center of Human Rights, Green used the words "bulls---," "damn" and "a--hole" during the 82-second call on June 2, 2014.
Green called the 911 dispatcher to complain about law enforcement not listening to him on June 20, 2013, when they arrested him for DUI. Green claims that he had asked the officers, during his arrest, to do a welfare check on his mother Ada Green, 83. She consequently died while Green was in jail on the DUI charge.
After making his 911 call, Green was reportedly arrested about half an hour later. He was charged with using "vulgar language during a 911 call," and spent three days in jail. The criminal charge was later dismissed.
Sarah Geraghty, Senior Attorney at the Southern Center for Human Rights, said in a statement:
In this country, people have a right to register a verbal complaint about the police without being jailed as a consequence. Law enforcement officers abused their authority when they arrested Mr. Green for making a complaint about a police officer over the telephone.
The Huffington Post notes that "fighting words" and threats are not protected free speech, but in the case of the City of Houston v. Hill, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “the First Amendment protects a significant amount of verbal criticism and challenge directed at police officers."
The Huffington Post adds that obscenity is not protected under the First Amendment, but vulgarity and profanity can be.