Is It Illegal in Oklahoma to Flip Off a Police Officer?
First let me say I in no way endorse or condone this type of behavior unless, of course, it's warranted and provoked by unjust and disrespectful treatment. The question is this "Is it illegal to flip off the police in Oklahoma?" This was a recent topic of discussion at the water cooler and we needed some answers.
Could giving an obscene gesture and displaying a defiant middle finger to law enforcement get you arrested and charged with some type of misdemeanor or other violation? Can you be fined or jailed for doing so?
Hit play on the video below to answer the question "Is it illegal to flip off the cops?"
The quick answer to the question is no. It isn't illegal to flip off a cop in Oklahoma, as a matter of fact, it's protected "free speech" backed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. So obscene but not illegal.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on this very subject. Yep, the SCOTUS has declared that flipping the middle finger to police, or really anyone else is protected free speech. You can't arrest someone for giving the bird.
As it turns out the middle finger is protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution
I know what you're thinking. The case mentioned in the video above was from New York, not Oklahoma so it could still be illegal in the Sooner State. The video was posted by an Okie, Tulsa Criminal Defense Attorney, Brian Jackson on the Wirth Law Office YouTube channel which is an Oklahoma law firm located in Tulsa, OK.
The case mentioned above made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, making its decision federal and nationwide. Regardless of state laws, a ruling from the SCOTUS concerning the constitutionality of something is pretty much final in all 50 states. But just because you have the right, doesn't make it right.
Watch the video below to see a teen get arrested, then released for flipping off the police
I have to say that what little interactions I've had with police have all been positive, even when getting a traffic ticket. I can't recall ever having an issue or complaint with an officer. They've all treated me respectfully, and I treated them the same. I've never had a reason to get upset or flip the bird. But I know someone who did.
That's how this whole topic came up. We were talking about a recent situation and the legality of the middle finger and using vulgar language at police officers came up. Again, I don't condone this type of behavior, unless provoked. Even then it can be a lot more effective to remain calm and unrattled, which seems to really intimidate and disturb most people, especially if they're trying to get a reaction out of you. But that's just me.