Cobb County, GA — A Marietta woman, after expressing her disdain for police, was subsequently arrested and thrown in solitary confinement for her free speech.
Amy Barnes was riding her bicycle to the store back in April of 2012 when she drove by a Cobb County police officer as he was questioning a suspect. As she peddled by the officer, Barnes yelled out, “F*** the Police!” while raising her middle finger.
We can hear Barnes express her feelings towards the Cobb County Police officer on the Dashcam video.
Barnes tells Fox 5 News, “And I said bleep the police and raised the middle finger and passed by.”
On camera an officer reacted to the profanity by saying, “That ain’t happening.” The officer then got into his cruiser and chased Barnes down to make sure this woman’s free speech did not go unpunished.
Barnes was placed under arrest and actually brought to jail. She was charged with disorderly conduct.
“She 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,” said Cynthia Counts, attorney for Barnes, explaining the heavy handed reaction by police.
The charges were eventually dismissed by the judge in Barnes’ trial despite the two officers claiming that nearby children were offended.
Barnes and Counts then sued the county claiming the officers violates her free speech. This week, Cobb County settled for one hundred thousand dollars.
Counts says the settlement is reminder of everyone’s constitutional rights, “It’s important to understand that people have a right to express their ideas and no matter how offensive it’s not a basis for penalizing someone. And that’s just wrong it violates the first amendment.”
Obviously flipping people off and yelling expletives will not make you many friends, but so what, you’ve harmed NO ONE in the act.
To arrest someone for their speech, you must believe that you have some sort of right to dictate not only what people can and can’t communicate, but what they can and can’t think.