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Justice

Everyone Has the Right to Mouth Off to Cops

U.S. courts have made this clear again and again and again.
In this July 10, 2015, frame from dashcam video provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, trooper Brian Encinia arrests Sandra Bland after she became combative during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. Bland was taken to the Waller County Jail that day and was found dead in her cell on July 13.
In this July 10, 2015, frame from dashcam video provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, trooper Brian Encinia arrests Sandra Bland after she became combative during a routine traffic stop in Waller County, Texas. Bland was taken to the Waller County Jail that day and was found dead in her cell on July 13. Texas Department of Public Safety via AP

"Fuck the police!" The protest refrain provokes feelings of sympathy, ambivalence, or dismay, depending on the listener. It is also the inspiration for a song by the rap group N.W.A., and a young man named Cesar Baldelomar was blasting that song from his car last Thanksgiving when Hialeah, Florida, police officer Harold Garzon took offense.

"Really?" Garzon allegedly said to Baldelomar. "You're really playing that song? Pull over."