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Georgia County Pays Woman $100K to Settle Free Speech Lawsuit Against Police

December 16, 2014  | 

Amy Barnes was arrested after yelling an expletive at officers and flipping them off. Last week she was awarded $100,000 to settle a First Amendment lawsuit. (Photo: WSB TV)
Amy Barnes was arrested after yelling an expletive at officers and flipping them off. Last week she was awarded $100,000 to settle a First Amendment lawsuit. (Photo: WSB TV)

Cobb County, Ga., will have to pay a woman $100,000 after police arrested her for swearing.

Amy Barnes sued after she faced charges in 2012 for cursing and flipping off two officers.

Barnes said she was riding her bike on Austell Road to get butter for her family Easter Sunday when she saw the two officers. She said she cursed at them and flipped them off, and they came after her.

"They came after me like it was some action movie,” Barnes told WSB TV.

Barnes is hearing impaired and said that's the reason police gave her for putting her in solitary confinement for 23 hours on a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. She called it torture.

Barnes’ lawyer said police officers violated her first amendment rights.

A judge dismissed all the charges against Barnes in April 2013.

Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Ima Leprechaun @ 12/16/2014 9:49 PM

While I cannot see her insulting remarks as freedom of speech I did read in Georgia Criminal Code and there is no law against giving anyone the bird. But it would all depend upon what "words" she used when she yelled at the officers as to whether or not she would have violated the disorderly conduct statute.

Marshal @ 12/17/2014 7:54 AM

Why is it if in most states had she done this to another citizen it would be construed as a inciting a breach of the peace or to start a fight and would be disorderly conduct but when it is done to the police it isn't a crime?

Ima Leprechaun @ 12/21/2014 12:11 AM

I was once told by a Judge that Police Officers have to expect to be spit on and cussed out because it's part of their job. I strongly disagreed with him because I always treated every person the way I would like to be treated and if they get nasty I have the same rights as any ordinary citizen to take action. I never gave up my constitutional rights to become a Police Officer. I have won many DOC cases that were verbal abuse toward me but to win you have to know how to testify and how to reasonably articulate your reasoning for the arrest. It helps if you can blush while you are testifying too. The blushing is the deal maker.

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