Fourth Amendment Blog – CA9: Contempt of cop arrest here violated First Amendment
Plaintiff was stopped for violation of a noise ordinance but he was arrested because he argued some with the officer on video. The Court of Appeals found it was protected speech, and plaintiff was retaliated against under the First Amendment, even if there was probable cause. Ford v. City of Yakima, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 2716 (9th Cir. February 8, 2013):
Ford invoked his right to free speech. Urlacher replied:
I have the freedom to take you to jail, too. And that’s what’s going to happen. . . . You exercise [your freedom of speech] all you want, okay? If you just cooperate and treat the police like humans, we’ll treat you like that. But when you act like that, like an animal, you’ve got to get treated that way, you know.
You’re going to jail for numerous reasons. The crime you’re going to jail for is the city noise ordinance. A lot of times we tend to cite and release people for that or we give warnings. However … you acted a fool … and we have discretion whether we can book or release you. You talked yourself—your mouth and your attitude talked you into jail. Yes, it did.
Urlacher later testified that he booked Ford (1) because he violated the city noise ordinance, which gives him discretion to book a person “if I feel like it,” and (2) because he “failed to listen[,] … failed to act civil, … failed to take responsibility for his actions, [and because of] his rageful [and disrespectful] behavior towards the law enforcement,” which put public safety at risk. (emphasis in original)