Lawsuit: Obscenity written on upstate NY speeding ticket payment is protected free speech

  • Updated: June 13, 2013 - 2:25 PM

LIBERTY, N.Y. — A 22-year-old Connecticut man who wrote obscenities and "Tyranny" on his speeding ticket payment claims in a federal lawsuit that his free speech rights were violated when he was arrested.

William Barboza is suing two police officers in the Catskill-area village of Liberty over the arrest.

Barboza had replaced the word "Liberty" with "Tyranny" and added an obscenity-laced insult on the payment form accompanying an August 2012 ticket.

The lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union says the Fairfield County man was ordered to town court, where he was handcuffed and arrested for aggravated harassment. He posted $200 bail that day. The charge was dismissed in March.

The NYCLU argues that offensive language is protected speech.

There was no immediate comment from Liberty police.

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