Woman Harassed for Bumper Sticker Fights Back

Affiliate: ACLU of Indiana
June 30, 2014 12:00 am

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Indianapolis — The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit Friday on behalf of a woman who was pulled over and interrogated after her bumper sticker caught the attention of Indianapolis police officers, violating her First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights.

On June 17, Pamela Konchinsky of Indianapolis was turning into the Merchants Garage on South Meridian Street in her silver Toyota minivan when two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officers entered the garage immediately behind her. One of the officers told Konchinsky that she was being detained because of a bumper sticker taped to the rear window of her minivan, which read: “Unmarked Police Car.” The officer told Konchinsky that people would think she was impersonating a police officer and that someone might shoot her. After reviewing her license and registration, Konchinsky was ordered to get out of her car and remove the bumper sticker.

IMPD officers’ subjecting Konchinsky to detention, questioning, intimidation and harassment over the message on her bumper sticker violates two constitutional amendments: the First Amendment protecting free expression and the Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable and suspicionless seizures.

“We contend that the police officers who detained and interrogated our client without legal grounds to do so violated her constitutional rights,” said ACLU of Indiana Staff Attorney Kelly Eskew. “The promise of our Constitution is that these lines cannot be crossed.”

The lawsuit, Pamela Konchinsky v. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officers John Doe I and John Doe II, Cause No. 1:14-cv-1078, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, on June 27, 2014.

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