Amy Barnes was riding her bike in April 2012 when she passed two Cobb County police officers, gave them the finger and yelled, "F--- the police."
Barnes, a well-known political activist in the area, made the statement while police were questioning an African-American man outside a store. Barnes rode off on her bike.
Officers Brian Scurr and Dipa Patel subsequently followed Barnes, arrested her for disorderly conduct and using words to “incite an immediate breach of the peace.”
“[Barnes] could have been given a citation but was arrested put in solitary confinement for part of it. She was in jail more than 24 hours," Barnes' attorney Cynthia Counts told My Fox Atlanta (video below).
“Ms. Barnes’ comments to the police may have been offensive, but no one in the United States of America should be chased down and arrested for their free speech,” Counts told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “The officers argued that it was a bad neighborhood and you shouldn’t disrespect the police because it could create issues."
A judge dropped the charges against Barnes in 2013.
Barnes sued Cobb County for violating her First Amendment rights and maliciously prosecuting her. The Cobb County commission agreed to a $100,000 settlement for Barnes on Tuesday, according to county spokesman Robert Quigley.
One of the reasons for the large settlement was because Barnes was held in solitary confinement.
PBS reported in 2013 that there are 2.3 million Americans being held in U.S. prisons and 80,000 of those inmates are kept in solitary confinement, which costs an estimated $75,000 per prisoner per year, all paid for by U.S. taxpayers.