Was I legally detained by police? 2 Answers as of June 29, 2011

My girlfriend received a parking ticket (no big deal). However, as we were walking away, I, admittedly stupidly, flipped him the bird. He proceeded to walk over, had me turn around, and violently frisked me, and ran my ID. There were 3 other people there who witnessed this (another patrol officer and a ride along legal consul/student). Was it legal for him to detain me? Does disorderly conduct apply, and if it does isn't that constitutionally illegal? I was let go, however I can't help but feel that my First Amendment rights had been violated. I'm aware that what I did was uncalled for, but isn't what he did in response equally inappropriate?

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Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
Technically, you are allowed to give an officer the finger. Recently, a person was cited for disorderly conduct for that same act and the ACLU got involved and the case was dismissed. So, your detention, without more conduct on you behalf, was illegal.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/29/2011
Frances R. Johnson
Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
Disorderly conduct is not constitutionally illegal. If an offense is committed in an officer's presence, or if he has reason to suspect a crime was committed or is about to be committed, that officer can perform a frisk or pat down of a suspect. There are laws that govern exactly what may or may not be done, and without knowing more facts of what all happened (e.g. did your action cause other's to act in an aggressive or disorderly manner), I cannot tell you all of the laws that may be applicable.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 6/28/2011
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