Man Arrested for Saying “F**k the Police” on Facebook Wins $35,000 Settlement

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John Vibes | The Free Thought Project

2015/10/07

Madison, WI — Thomas Smith, 27, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct for leaving negative remarks on a local police department’s Facebook page back in 2012.

After fighting the charges with his own lawsuit, Smith was recently awarded a $35,000 settlement because his rights were violated by the arrest.

The feud between Smith and the police began after he left a number of comments on a police department facebook page.

In a comment thread started by Officer Nicholas Stroik, another Facebook user identified Stroik as a racist and said he had expressed that African-American people “don’t belong in his town.”

Smith then posted two comments in response, saying “F**k the f***ing cops they ant s**t but f***ing racist basturds an f***ing all of y’all who is racist” and “F**k them n***rs b***hs wat you got on us, not a dam thing so f**k off d*cks.” [Spelling in original].

Smith’s posts, along with any other posts criticizing the police were quickly deleted.

However, soon after, he was contacted by police who asked him if he had made the comments.

When he admitted to exercizing his right to free speech, he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a computer.

After he was arrested, Smith told the police “I put it on there, I don’t regret it and I mean it.”

He was subsequently banned from using a computer or phone.

The prosecution argued that Smith’s posts were not protected by free speech because they were classified as “fighting words.”

Initially, Smith was convicted and was sentenced to a year of probation and 25 hours of community service.

But shortly after, he ended up winning the case on appeal and having the convictions thrown out.

The appeals court ruled that the “fighting words” doctrine only applies when the two parties are within close proximity to one another.

“In our country, we are entitled to criticize our government with passion. The use of some four-letter words in the course of doing so is never a crime,” Smith’s attorney, Thomas Aquino said in a statement.


John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work, he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.
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Filming Cops
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Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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