Is it Illegal to Wear a “Fuck the Police” Shirt?
Can the police legally arrest you for wearing a shirt that says: “Fuck the Police”? What about wearing a “Fuck the Police” shirt and, after being confronted by the police for wearing the shirt, calling the officers “mother fuckers” and “bitch-ass fucking pigs”? The short answer is “No,” according to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. As reported in another blog, the Sixth Circuit has previously ruled that flipping off a police officer is protected by the First Amendment. Additionally, there’s an abundance of federal case law supporting a person’s First Amendment right to flip off or otherwise offend police officers.
Recently, the Sixth Circuit held that Michael Wood had a First Amendment right to cuss out a bunch of police officers who removed him from an Ohio county fair after someone called 911 to complain about the “Fuck the Police” shirt he was wearing. After being arrested, Mr. Wood was charged with Disorderly Conduct for his actions, but these charges were subsequently dismissed. After the charges were dismissed, Mr. Wood filed a civil rights complaint against the officers for false arrest and retaliation. The Sixth Circuit ruled that the officers are not protected by qualified immunity and the civil case could proceed forward to trial.
You can read about the case here: Appeals Court Rules Ohio Cops Didn’t Have Cause To Arrest Man Wearing ‘Fuck the Police’ Shirt/
You can read the decision here: 22a0025p-06.pdf (uscourts.gov)
The Nobles & Yanez Law Firm is always here to fight for your constitutional rights if you find yourself in a similar situation as Michael Wood did.