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Law used to cite bird-flipping man nixed

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BALLWIN, Mo., Feb. 29 (UPI) -- Officials in a Missouri town said they are doing away with an ordinance used to cite a man for displaying his middle finger to a fellow motorist.

Ballwin City Administrator Robert Kuntz said the ordinance, which was used to cite Steven Pogue, 64, for flipping the bird while driving in April, prohibited "extending a body part" out the window of a motor vehicle and was designed to keep people from sticking their feet out of car windows, KMOX-AM, St. Louis, reported Wednesday.

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"Ultimately, I guess freedom of speech and expression and how an operator handles himself is that person's business, as long as he's safe, and not government's," Kuntz said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri applauded the decision to throw out the ordinance. The group had threatened the city with legal action before the case against Pogue was dropped.

"The ordinance allowed police officers the discretion to haul into court citizens who expressed a viewpoint with which the officers disagreed," said Brenda Jones, executive director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. "Repealing the law fits within our nation's finest traditions of allowing free expressions without fear of arrest."

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