Skip to comments."Sticker stuck in cop's craw" - Officer threatens arrest unless anti-Bush sticker removed
Posted on 01/25/2005 10:02:23 AM PST by DaveLoneRanger
A Denver police sergeant is under investigation for allegedly threatening to arrest a woman Monday for displaying on her truck a derogatory bumper sticker about President Bush.
"He told her that this was a warning and that the next time he saw her truck, she was going to be arrested if she didn't remove the sticker," said Alinna Figueroa, 25, assistant manager of The UPS Store where the confrontation took place. "I couldn't believe it."
Denver police have initiated an investigation into the alleged incident, said Police Chief Gerry Whitman. He declined to comment further.
About 11 a.m., Shasta Bates, 26, was standing in the shopping center store in the 800 block of South Monaco Parkway when a man walked in and started arguing with her about a bumper sticker on the back of her truck that had "F--- Bush" in white letters on a black background.
"He was saying it was very sick and wrong and you shouldn't be doing that," Bates said. "He was very offended by it. I said, 'You didn't have to take it so personally.' "
The two argued for a few minutes, and then the man walked out of the store and stood behind Bates' truck. A few minutes later, the man flagged down police Sgt. Michael Karasek, who was patrolling the area.
Rocky Mountain News reporter Katie Kerwin McCrimmon, who happened to be at the store at the time, walked up to the two and asked what was going on.
The man pointed the bumper sticker out to McCrimmon, and then Karasek told her that it was illegal because it was profane, McCrimmon said.
Reached late Monday, City Attorney Cole Finnegan said he didn't believe there were any city ordinances against displaying a profane bumper sticker.
Karasek then walked into the store and confronted Bates.
"He said, 'You need to take off those stickers because it's profanity and it's against the law to have profanity on your truck,' " Bates said. "Then he said, 'If you ever show up here again, I'm going to make you take those stickers off and arrest you. Never come back into that area.' "
McCrimmon, who had followed the officer into the store, said Karasek wrote down the woman's license-plate number and then told her: "You take those bumper stickers off or I will come and find you and I will arrest you."
Bates said she hasn't had many complaints about her sticker, which has shared the space on the back of her truck with many other stickers since August.
She said she put the sticker on her truck because she disagrees with Bush's stance on homosexuality and "other issues."
"I get some older men who pull up at the side of me and start yelling and cussing," she said, "but it's not a crime unless they take some action."
Colorado ACLU Legal Director Mark Silverstein said that the alleged threat of arrest clearly violates First Amendment protection.
"The Supreme Court considered a case about 30-some years ago where a person was prosecuted for wearing a jacket that said, 'F--- the draft,' on the back. The Supreme Court said states could not prohibit people from wearing such a jacket," he said. "They said, 'One man's profanity is another man's lyric.' "
Ted Halaby, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said that while he finds the bumper sticker's message distasteful, he also realizes that it's probably protected under the First Amendment.
"There are all sorts of derogatory bumper stickers that seem to be covered under the First Amendment," he said, "whether or not you find them personally distasteful."
If you can't have it on your license plate, how is it okay to have it on your bumper?
Nice job, media.
Maybe this is the same cop that let me out of my speeding ticket because I have a Bush/Cheney 04 bumper sticker.
It's all Bush's fault!
Would her sticker fall under a "hate crime" law? Or "fighting words" law? Maybe just an advertisement that the owner of the vehicle is a no-class slobasaurus.
"You know, I'm going to start thanking
the woman who cleans the restroom in
the building I work in. I'm going to start
thinking of her as a human being"
So let 'em have their bumper stickers. They get to feel good about their "comformist non-comformity", and we get to know who they are. Makes it easier.
So I take this as the officer being mistaken about the profanity? Why couldn't he arrest her for DO? My buddy got arrested for DO for getting into an argument and using the f-word in public (loudly). It had nothing to do with the First Amendment, just acting "disorderly" on . Hmmm. I thought about the "F-the draft case" when he was arrested, too...but his lawyer said it did not apply to the DO charge. Some lawyer explain this to me.
Sorry, that's Disorderly Conduct. Should have written DOC.
Maybe the lesbian-rights supporter sporting the sticker is one of them coprophiliacs?
The state owns your license plate.
OMG, I just love that name...gotta be a sick joke in there somewhere, hmmmmmm?
Do you mean there's something wrong with my "F- the Police" bumper sticker?? < / sarcasm>
Be careful, spending time at the D.U. causes a loss of brain function. We will miss you!!
Yep. The "reformers" are losing and the loons are still firmly in charge of the left - and making sure everyone knows it.
Hmmm - I wonder what the outcome would be if the sticker said "F--- Queers" or something of the sort? Would it pass from being a 1st Amendment issue to a hate crime?
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