Have you ever been driving down the road or shopping for groceries and dealt with someone who you really wanted to flip off? Sure you have. It happens every day in Iowa. It happens every day in every state in America. Part of being a human being is how you deal with people you don't like. Sometimes you want to let other people know exactly what you think about them by giving them the one-finger salute.

Flipping someone off in general isn't illegal but it can be considered an extremely rude gesture. Police officers aren't above the law but they do have the job of protecting life and property while enforcing the laws and regulations. In short, protect and serve. Is it illegal to flip off a cop in the state of Iowa?

Unsplash - Jacky Lam
Unsplash - Jacky Lam

I will start by saying, before we get into the legalities of this, flipping someone off, especially a cop, is something you should probably always avoid. No matter how frustrated you are in a situation, you never know who you're flipping off and how they will react. It might make you feel better for a few seconds or help relieve some stress but 99 times out of 100, you should restrain yourself.

Is It Legal To Flip Off A Cop?

According to Wirth Law Office, you do have the legal right, under the constitution and First Amendment free speech, to give a cop the middle finger. While the idea is a dumb one, it is legal to do so.

It's important to remember that while free speech is a foundation of society, that doesn't make it unlimited. Not everything you say is protected. According to Aer Law Group,

"Speech that incites violence in another or in a crowd is not protected. Those are considered “fighting words” and, as such, are not protected."

While you can curse at a police officer... if your cursing contains some kind of threat, your free speech is no longer protected. Think of it this way, calling the police a name is protected but saying something along the lines of "get you" might not be.

It's important to remember that police officers are a strange combination of superheroes and regular people. They're superheroes because of what they do for a living. They are the first ones we call when we need help and they put their lives on the line every, single, day, for you and me.

They're regular people in the sense of, they just want to do their job the best they can and go home to their families. When they get home they have chores to do just like you and me. They have lawns they have to cut, dinner to make, bills to pay, and kids who need help with their math homework. Can you legally flip off a cop? Sure. That doesn't mean you should do it. They deserve the best respect you can give them.

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