Missouri mayor ordered drug raid to intimidate woman who flipped him off: ACLU
A Missouri woman sued the small-town mayor she says sent police and other city employees to harass her after she began regularly flipping him off.
Tina Warren filed a federal lawsuit last week against Bill Kirkpatrick, the mayor of Piedmont, accusing the elected official of retaliating against her for her one-finger political expression, reported the Riverfront Times.
The mayor directed city workers to remove Warren’s water meter and ordered Piedmont police to pull her over and order her to stop a petition drive against rising water bills, the suit claims.
Kirkpatrick also persuaded Wayne County Sheriff Dean Finch, two deputies and a state police narcotics officer to search her home three weeks ago for drugs, according to the suit.
That search turned up no evidence of illegal drugs.
Warren began “expressing her disgust” with the mayor after her water service went out for six days in April 2014, and she stopped to question city workers.
She claims Kirkpatrick told her to get back in her car and “go down the f*cking road,” so she began flipping off the mayor each time she encountered him.
Warren said city workers removed her water meter July 7, and she went to City Hall to ask why.
“You flipped us off,” a city employer says in a video she recorded of the encounter.
Workers agreed to replace the meter after a police officer intervened and Warren assured them she was flipping off the mayor, not maintenance workers.
City officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, filed Sept. 24 by the American Civil Liberties Union, but the city attorney denied Kirkpatrick would order workers to tamper with the water meter.
The city attorney said Warren should direct her anger at developers who improperly installed water lines, and he suggested the woman was frustrated because her protest had failed to stop water costs from increasing.
The ACLU, however, said Warren was being punished for her political expression — which attorneys argued was protected under the First Amendment.
“The mayor and police cannot use their power to intimidate individuals who communicate in ways that some may find offensive,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri.
Watch Warren’s encounter with city workers over her water meter: