MARIETTA, Ga. - A Marietta woman says that she's filing a federal lawsuit against police after she was arrested for allegedly using profanity at officers. The woman says her First Amendment rights were violated by the arrest.
Amy Barnes, a member of the Occupy movement, says she flipped off police and cussed at them as she was on her bike on Austell Road near her Marietta home. Two Cobb Police officers had teenagers stopped outside a store as Barnes showed her displeasure from the moving bike.
Police followed and arrested her couple of blocks away.
"They told me I shouldn't be presenting a lewd gesture in front of children," said Barnes.
Police charged Barnes with disorderly conduct. She says she spent 23 hours in jail -- six in solitary confinement. The misdemeanor is still making its' way through the courts, but Barnes' attorney, Cynthia Counts, says police violated Barnes' constitutional rights.
"It's infringing speech; the government cannot just chase down a citizen and arrest them when they speak their mind," said Counts.Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5
Cobb County Police had no comment on the pending lawsuit, but the spokesman did say that Barnes would not have been arrested had it been only the two police officers that heard and saw her vulgarities, adding that she was arrested because other people did too.
Barnes said case is an issue of Constitutional rights.
"I have a duty to ensure that, not just my rights, but everybody else's rights are honored under the First Amendment," said Barnes.
Counts says that she expects the courts to drop the disorderly conduct charge against Barnes which she says will pave the way further for the federal lawsuit.