VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - An Indiana State Police Master Trooper is facing a lawsuit after a Vigo County man says a traffic stop violated his Constitutional rights.
The federal lawsuit was filed on February 1st by the ACLU of Indiana on behalf of Mark May.
Definition of Provokation - Sec. 3 . A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally engages in conduct that is likely to provoke a reasonable person to commit battery commits provocation, a Class C infraction.
Court documentation says the incident involves a traffic stop on August 21st, 2017.
According to the complaint, Mark May says Indiana State Police Master Trooper Matt Ames stopped him after May flipped him off.
According to May, Ames cut him off while turning onto 41 while following another driver.
May says Ames pulled over a different driver.
Court papers say May flipped the trooper off after he pulled over the other driver to "express his dissatisfaction."
That is when May says the state trooper stopped what he was doing with the original traffic stop to pull him over.
In the court documents, May alleges Master Trooper Ames told him it was "illegal to give the finger to a law enforcement officer."
That is when Ames wrote May a ticket for "provocation", also adding May did not use his turn signal when he turned into a parking lot while stopping for Ames. May received a warning for the turn signal violation.
May contested the provocation ticket in Terre Haute City Court.
Documents say while in court for the provocation offense, Ames admitted that the only reason he pulled May over was because of the gesture.
The city court found May guilty of provocation.
That is when he says he took it to the Vigo County Superior Court for a review.
Documents say the Vigo County Prosecutor's Office decided not to proceed further with the case and dismissed the claim against May.
The ACLU complaint says May's gesture toward Master Trooper Ames was considered expressive conduct and is fully protected by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
It also adds the traffic stop was an unconstitutional seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment.
The complaint says May wants acknowledgment that the traffic stop was unconstitutional, legal fees, damages, and "all other proper relief."
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