An Arkansas Trooper pulled over a van for a traffic infraction. As he was talking to the driver, another car drove by and a person in the car (Thurairajah) yelled “F**k You” to the officer. The officer then terminated the traffic stop and pulled over and arrested Thurairajah for violating Arkansas’ disorderly conduct statute. Charges were dropped and Thurairajah sued for First and Fourth Amendment violations. Officer Cross sought qualified immunity for both claims, but the Eighth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s denial of qualified immunity. The court ruled that yelling out of a window of a moving car did not constitute “disorderly conduct” as defined by the Arkansas statute. Furthermore, the court held that shouting “F**k You” at a police officer was protected speech and the arrest was made in retaliation for the statement.
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