Flipping the bird, or sticking out the middle finger, is perhaps the oldest insulting gesture on earth. The move dates back to ancient Greece and was adopted by the Romans as digitus impudicus — the impudent finger.A zillion middle fingers later, an Oregon man is suing suburban Portland cops (.pdf) over his use of the gesture, claiming civil rights violations. Twice he flipped them off for no apparent reason while driving and was pulled over each time — resulting in what he said was a “bogus” traffic citation that was later dismissed, and a tongue lashing he still remembers.
“The guy flew into a road rage,” Robert Ekas, a retired Silicon Valley systems analyst, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.
Lawrence Wolf, a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, said there was no law against flipping off cops. And in most instances when it leads to an arrest or conviction, the charges are dismissed. But the gesture invites police confrontation, he said.
“It’s certainly not the smartest thing one can do,” Wolf said.
[Read more at Wired]