Robert Bell suing New York City after flipping off cop

Jordan Chittley
Daily Buzz

Similar situations in the U.S. have resulted in success, but Canada is a different story

A New York man is suing the city after he was arrested for giving a cop the middle finger.

Robert Bell, an aspiring lawyer, stepped outside of a pub for a breath of fresh air in August of last year. After some police officers passed him, he raised his middle finger and flipped the cops off behind their backs. Bell didn't notice another cop standing nearby who witnessed the shocking gesture.

According to a suit filed recently, the officer asked Bell, "Do you think that's funny?" and before Bell could respond he was cuffed. When asked why he did it, Bell replied, "Because I don't like cops." He was hauled off to a holding cell where he taunted for his sexual orientation by officers. Bell was released after about two hours and later had his disorderly conduct charge dropped.

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Bell isn't the only person to flip off a cop, but an officer in Canada seemed to have some more luck getting the fine to stick. A driver was pulled over in southern Ontario and charged with travelling 135 km/h on Highway 401. After the driver had received the ticket he saluted the officer with one finger. The officer then handed the man a $110 ticket for an improper hand signal.

A former pizza delivery driver in Winnipeg also flipped off the cops, but he was charged for his mini crime wave.

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However, in the U.S., most of the cases seem to be dropped and some people even make money from their ordeals.

Oregon man Robert Ekas twice flipped off cops resulting in a citation, which was later dismissed. He sued, claiming his constitutional rights had been violated because he was not free from malicious prosecution. He settled for $4,000. His gestures earned him a Facebook fan page and Stephen Colbert devoted a segment on his show to the incident calling Ekas a difference maker.

A Pittsburgh man was awarded $50,000 after he was wrongfully cited for disorderly conduct. Unfortunately for this person, he only received $10,000 as the rest had to go to his lawyers and the American Civil Liberties Union.

These guys were able to win because, as U.S. criminal defense lawyer Lawrence Wolf told Wired, there is no law against flipping off cops. But he said, "It's certainly not the smartest thing one can do."

As for Bell, the suit claims he will be unable to get into the law school of his choice because the schools require people to disclose facts of any arrests. We're guessing if he does become a lawyer, he won't be one that works with cops.

(Reuters photo)