Flipped off cops, got arrested settle for $25 K
Duo Who Flipped Off Cops & Got Arrested Reach $52K Settlement With City
BY EMMA WHITFORD IN NEWS ON JAN 23, 2016 10:00 AM
Two NYPD officers exercising their First Amendment rights
Two people who spent a night in jail after flipping off a pair of NYPD officers on the E train have won a $52,000 settlement from the city for the violation of their First Amendment rights.
After Channing Creager, 26, and Nicholas Thommen, 33, brandished their middle fingers to two cops on the E train in June of 2013, the officers exited with them and proceeded to ask them for their identification. The duo was cuffed after officers looked up their records and saw that Thommen had been arrested the year previous for allegedly assaulting an NYPD officer with a metal pipe outside of a Starbucks, according to their lawyer Jason Leventhal. The charges in the beating case were dropped before the E train incident.
"The cops did background checks, and five minutes later they made a comment to Thommen with regards to a prior arrest involving an altercation with police officers, and that's when they handcuffed him," Leventhal told us.
The friends were also active in the Occupy Wall Street movement, as the Post is careful to point out, although they were not participating in a protest at the time of the train incident.
Creager and Thommen were handcuffed and taken to the 110th Precinct in Queens and spent a night in jail. Both denied officers' claims that they yelled insults in addition to raising their middle fingers. Disorderly conduct charges were later dropped in Queens Supreme Court.
"If they were yelling and screaming on a subway car there could be probable cause to arrest them," their attorney Leventhal said. "Our clients say they were not. What it comes down to is whether it rose to the level of creating public annoyance and alarm."