You remember all those times you have changed your vote, stance on gun control, or your religion while reading a bumper sticker on the back of someone’s car at a traffic stop?
Well, a black BMW in Virginia has made the news over a sticker on their car with “Shoot A Cop” written on it, because the state Fraternal Order of Police thinks that bumper stickers are quite powerful, and worries someone may take the sticker’s advice.
FREE SPEECH OR TERRORISTIC THREATS? Police respond to this disturbing bumper sticker at 11. pic.twitter.com/cvliQcRb4e
— ChrisThomasNBC12 (@ChrisNBC12) June 13, 2015
“It’s absolutely very dangerous,” Kevin Carroll with the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police told the local NBC affiliate. “It’s dangerous for the officers.”
The station went to their legal expert to see if the bumper sticker was actually protected by the First Amendment, or if it constituted a terroristic threat.
Of course, the legal expert asserted that no matter how inflammatory the sticker may be, it is still constitutionally protected by the first amendment.
“As obnoxious and stupid and potentially dangerous as that might be,” said NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin. “That’s the expression of a message, and that’s protected by the first amendment.”
Benjamin also asserted that the Virginia police cannot legally pull someone over for exercising their right to free speech, even if it hurts their feelings.
He also acknowledged that doesn’t mean they won’t, as we know- officers seem to make their own rules.
“The police cannot detain a person for the legal exercise of their first amendment right to free speech. But you are inviting that kind of attention when you drive around with something that inflammatory.” Benjamin continued.
The police union however, has some deeply hurt feelings, and aside from worrying that someone will be going about their day and see the bumper sticker, and decide to go shoot cops- he also worries that the one little bumper sticker may dissuade “good cops” from joining their ranks.
“Officers make mistakes,” Carroll petulantly continued. “I understand that, but I did not know that it now has become fashionable to hate the police.”
Apparently Carroll has missed the thousands of people in major cities all across the country taking to their streets to demand change from the violent police.
Perhaps it is not “hating police” that has become fashionable, maybe police acting as judge, jury, and executioner, has just become unfashionable.