‘Tis Official! You can now swear at other people and even police officers in Pennsylvania and not get sent to the House of Many Doors thanks to the folks at the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Pennsylvania State Police has agreed to stop citing individuals for disorderly conduct for profanity and to provide mandatory training to its officers about free speech as part of a settlement the agency reached with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. The settlement enabled the ACLU to voluntarily dismiss a federal lawsuit against the state police over this practice today.
As part of the settlement, the PSP has agreed to:
- Notify its troopers that they cannot issue citations solely for the use of profane or offensive words or gestures, even if they are directed at law enforcement personnel;
- Provide additional training to all troopers and cadets on the First Amendment right of individuals to express themselves using profane language or gestures;
- Develop a mandatory training update for new and continuing state law enforcement officers about this policy; and
- Revise existing training materials on the disorderly conduct statute to clarify that the term ‘obscene’ in the statute does not refer to profanity, indecent speech or gestures.
If only George Carlin were alive, he’d be down there in a flash belting out the seven words you can’t say on television and until recently in Pennsylvania.