Deprivation of Civil Rights under the Color of Law: A Primer for Bay St Louis City Officials Part 1 (Updated)

Word got out fast about yesterday’s Municipal Court proceedings, in particular the case of local businessman Jeff Harding, who was recently expelled from a City Council meeting for alleged shooting the bird at Council President Bobby Compretta and ticketed for disturbing the peace. Yesterday, municipal court Judge Steve Maggio sentenced Harding to 180 days jail with 150 days suspended, 24 months supervised probation, plus a prohibition against entering any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages, abstention from the use of alcoholic beverages, a $500 fine and $200 per month to ASAP.

There is only one problem with this prosecution and one that could create a bill that the taxpayers of Bay St Louis could well end up footing in the denial of Mr. Harding’s right to political expression. I know a few things about this topic and I did not have to look hard to find some links:

Is It Legal to Flip Off a Cop? ~ Avvo Naked Law

Court: Flipping the bird at a cop doesn’t warrant arrest ~ NBC News

A New York man arrested after he gave the finger to a police officer can sue police for malicious prosecution, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday, overturning a lower-court decision that deemed the officer’s response reasonable.

In its decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that giving someone the finger is an “ancient gesture of insult” and “is not the basis for a reasonable suspicion of a traffic violation or impending criminal activity.”

This latest bit of jackassery from our local elected officials is certain to dominate the news. These fails would not sting quite so badly if they weren’t all self-inflicted. Stay tuned.

Update: Continue reading “Deprivation of Civil Rights under the Color of Law: A Primer for Bay St Louis City Officials Part 1 (Updated)”