On February 1, 2018, the ACLU of Indiana filed suit in United States District Court on behalf of Mark May, a motorist who was pulled over and ticketed after giving “the finger” to an Indiana state trooper. Asserting that Mr. May’s gesture constituted expressive conduct fully protected under the First Amendment, the ACLU of Indiana is asking the court to declare the state trooper’s actions unconstitutional and award damages to the motorist.

On August 21, 2017 May was driving in Terre Haute, Indiana when Indiana State Police Master Trooper Matt Ames aggressively cut in front of him and pulled over another driver. To express his dissatisfaction with what the Master Trooper was doing, May made a rude gesture at the officer as he drove by. In response, Master Trooper Ames pursued May, pulled him over, and cited him for “provocation.” The charges were eventually dismissed, but not before May had to stand trial and make two separate appearances in Terre Haute City Court.
The ACLU of Indiana’s lawsuit asserts that by pulling over and ticketing May for constitutionally-protected expressive conduct, the trooper’s actions violated the First and Fourth Amendments to the United States Constitution.  
The matter has been settled and the case was closed in January 2019.

Date filed

February 1, 2018


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana – Terre Haute Division



Case number