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01-13-09, 10:20 PM #1
Showing support for the police? That will be a $100 fine
Jasbir Singh thought that he was showing support for police officers when he put a police union sticker on his car last year.
At least one officer didn't see it that way.
Singh was stopped and cited by a Lockland police officer last January for displaying a "law-enforcement emblem," which violates a state law and a village ordinance. Singh paid a $100 fine and had to peel the "Fraternal Order of Police" sticker off his car.
He sued Monday in U.S. District Court for the right to put it back.
"It is unconstitutional," Singh, of West Chester Township, said. "I should be allowed to have that on my car."
Lockland officials declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday, but Village Administrator David Krings said Lockland's law is no different than the state law.
Singh's lawyer, Robert Newman, said the law violates the First Amendment because it inhibits free expression. He said Singh and countless others have put police, fire and military stickers on their cars as a way to show support and, maybe, to elicit some sympathy if they get pulled over for speeding.
Regardless of their reasons, Newman said, displaying a police union sticker is no different from other constitutionally protected forms of expression, such as stitching an American flag to a pair of blue jeans.
"The wearing of emblems, even profane emblems, is symbolic speech," Newman said.
Lockland's law, however, expressly forbids it: "No person who is not entitled to do so shall knowingly display on a motor vehicle the emblem of a law enforcement agency or an organization of law enforcement officers."
Variations of that law are fairly common in the U.S., said Kathy Harrell, president of Cincinnati's Fraternal Order of Police. The purpose is to prevent people from impersonating law-enforcement officers.
Harrell said the FOP tries to avoid problems by issuing two sets of stickers, one for member police officers and one for supporters. The stickers are similar, except the word "member" appears beneath the FOP logo on the sticker given to officers.
"You have to be a legitimate FOP member to have that," Harrell said.
Singh said his sticker, which includes the letters "FOP" and the words "Fraternal Order of Police," does not claim he is a member of the union.
He said he got the sticker from a friend who is a Cincinnati police officer.
He said the Lockland officer, who was not named in the lawsuit, stopped Singh solely because of the sticker. He received no other citation.
Singh said he still supports the police union and would like to put the sticker back on his car - but not until the lawsuit is resolved.
"I don't want to be pulled over again," he said.
01-14-09, 01:16 AM #2
Most stickers and emblems that show a LE affiliation around here are meaningless. Everyone has one.
We have a "Police Association of Connecticut" or PAC. They have a distinctive sticker and a lic plate emblem. Over the years PAC members have given those stickers and to a lesser extent some emblems, to family members and friends and just about anyone else. Nowadays, a car displaying one doesn't mean much. Some members of one PD in CT like to say a car displaying one of those stickers gives them PC to stop it since mostly criminals display them. I know it's an attempt at humor and they don't really do that, but it does highlight the problem.
Another LE organization here is the NEOA or Narcotics Enforcement Officers Association. They also have stickers (and probably emblems) and bumper stickers. A few years back, my wife needed to go to a store in a strip mall. I pulled in and parked and stayed in the car. As I waited I began looking around. A massage parlor (where the services involve a bit more than just massages) had a NEOA bumper sticker on the front door. I don't know, but I found it rather ironic."When a crime is committed, liberals blame society. Conservatives blame the criminal." -Debra Saunders
Old Scottish Motto- "nemo me impune laccessit". It still holds true today.
01-14-09, 02:00 AM #3
The language that will bind people up is "entitled to do so". I would argue that if the sticker was expressly manufactured or advertised as a vehicle decal, and it is in fact legitimately sold or given to members of the public as a way to "show appreciation" or as a means of raising funds, and I obtained the sticker legally, I'm damn well "entitled" to do whatever the fuck I want with it. My ex-girlfriend had a Thin Blue Line sticker. It wasn't to get out of tickets...she drove like a model citizen. (so much so that it drove me nuts!) She was genuinely moved by the symbolism of it and requested that I get one for her. I obtained it from the NLEOMF site, where any person can purchase them. It was a small sticker, maybe 1" X 2". If she had EVER been stopped and/or received a ticket by some prick like in the story, I would have hunted that mother fucker down at his agency and chewed his ass in front of God and everyone.
Who knows, maybe the guy in the article was a shitbag and riled the cop up. I understand the frustration of running across someone who's got an FOP sticker for the sole purpose of getting out of tickets. That doesn't mean we should start nitpicking people and writing them for stupid shit like this. It (further) ruins the purpose behind the decals in the first place and has the potential to screw over decent people that actually support cops.
Cliff Notes: This cop is a fucking moron."If anything worthwhile comes of this tragedy, it should be the realization by every citizen that often the only thing that stands between them and losing everything they hold dear... is the man wearing a badge." -- Ronald Reagan, in the wake of the deaths of 4 CHP troopers in the Newhall Incident, 1970
The opinions given in my posts DO NOT reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employing agency. They are my personal opinions only, thereby releasing my agency of any liability, or involvement in anything posted under the username "121Traffic" on O/R.
01-14-09, 10:53 AM #4
I get an FOP sticker every year when I donate money. The letter with the stickers actually asks me to display it on my vehicle in order to show my support to the rest of the community. I choose not to, however, because I feel like a poser having that on my car when I am not a member"The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of its blessings; the inherent vice of Socialism is the equal sharing of its miseries." -Winston Churchill
01-14-09, 11:14 AM #5
Everybody and their brother has a Mississippi Highway Patrol Assn Supporter sticker on their car around here.*************************"It wouldn't take much for me to up and run...to another life somewhere in the sun."*************************"There's something inherently wrong with having to put on a bullet-proof vest and a gun to go to work."-(An old friend)
Any statements or opinions given in my postings or profile do not reflect the opinions, views, policies, and/or procedures of my employer or anyone else other than me. They are my personal opinions or statements only, thereby releasing my employer , any other entity, or any other person of any liability or involvement in anything posted under the username "Cidp24" on O/R.
01-14-09, 12:01 PM #6
01-14-09, 12:26 PM #7
01-14-09, 12:49 PM #8Chief Wheaties PisserVerified LEO
- Join Date
- Just outside Latteland
- Rep Power
I'm running about 70% of arrests for those driving cars with LE group stickers on them. You might as well have a flashing light on your car when I see that sticker on the back window. Last week, I arrested a fellow for driving on a suspended license after he left court for another suspended driving charge and drove away in a car with the Law Enforcement Memorial commemorative license plates . . .
And why is it that the sticks appear most frequently on warrant wagons?
01-14-09, 12:53 PM #9
I'm with 121 - although I would have used the adjective "tool."I'm your huckleberry...
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentus telum est!
You can be the weapon, and the gun in your hand is a tool - or the gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
I was looking for a saint who was a devil of a lover,
but every girl I found was either one way or the other...
01-14-09, 02:06 PM #10
I once saw a car around here that had so many Police related stickers on the back glass that I doubt the guy could even see out of the damn thing. It was ridiculous...Calm Like A Bomb...
“A pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.”
01-14-09, 03:01 PM #11
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