Kevin Killeen

BALLWIN, Mo. (KMOX) – The city of Ballwin is backing down, repealing an ordinance that led to a charge against a man accused of giving another motorist the finger in traffic.

City Adminstrator Robert Kuntz says the officer who issued a ticket of “extending a body part” out the window was using a law that originally sought to prevent people from sticking their feet out the window.

“Ultimately, I guess freedom of speech and expression and how an operator handles himself is that person’s business, as long as he’s safe, and not governments,” Kuntz said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, which had threatened Ballwin with legal action, applauded the decision.

“The ordinance allowed police officers the discretion to haul into court citizens who expressed a viewpoint with which the officers disagreed,” said Brenda Jones, Executive Director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. “Repealing the law fits within our nation’s finest traditions of allowing free expressions without fear of arrest.”

Kuntz says the case was handled “in house” without outside legal counsel and no additional cost to city taxpayers.

Ballwin had earlier dropped the court case against the motorist, Steven Pogue, 64, of Florissant, Mo.

Pogue had been driving in stop-and-go traffic on busy Manchester Road last April, when another car blocked his way at a green light and he allegedly gave the motorist the finger.

KMOX © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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