A teenager was arrested on Friday for calling a police a “pig.”
William Reece, 19, was riding in a car on Friday when he spotted a police officer giving another driver a ticket. Reece opened his car door and called the officer a pig, US News reports. Newport police officer Derek Wright then pursued the car and arrested Reece, according to Newport Plain Talk.
While calling the officer a pig is protected under the First Amendment, Reece was charged with disorderly conduct “due to creating a hazardous condition that served no legitimate purpose” because he opened the car door while the vehicle was in motion, US News reports. Reece was held briefly on $500 but has since posted bond and is free.
The car was going less than 40 miles per hour.
“If the arrest had occurred for shouting through an open window, it probably would have been unconstitutional,” Vanderbilt University Law School professor Christopher Slobogin told US News. But opening a car door while in motion is “probably a traffic violation.”
Even if it seems clear that the officer arrested Reece to get back at him for the insult, the alleged traffic violation allows the officer to make the stop despite the teenager’s constitutional rights, Slobogin told US News. An exception to this rule exists for racial discrimination. Reece is white.