Marietta woman files suit over profanity arrest
by Fox 5 Atlanta
October 15, 2012 04:18 PM | 7023 views | 52 52 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Amy Barnes says that she's filing a federal lawsuit against police after she was arrested for allegedly using profanity at officers.
Amy Barnes says that she's filing a federal lawsuit against police after she was arrested for allegedly using profanity at officers.
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MARIETTA, Ga. - A Marietta woman says that she's filing a federal lawsuit against police after she was arrested for allegedly using profanity at officers. The woman says her First Amendment rights were violated by the arrest.

Amy Barnes, a member of the Occupy movement, says she flipped off police and cussed at them as she was on her bike on Austell Road near her Marietta home. Two Cobb Police officers had teenagers stopped outside a store as Barnes showed her displeasure from the moving bike.

Police followed and arrested her couple of blocks away.

"They told me I shouldn't be presenting a lewd gesture in front of children," said Barnes.

Police charged Barnes with disorderly conduct. She says she spent 23 hours in jail -- six in solitary confinement. The misdemeanor is still making its' way through the courts, but Barnes' attorney, Cynthia Counts, says police violated Barnes' constitutional rights.

"It's infringing speech; the government cannot just chase down a citizen and arrest them when they speak their mind," said Counts.

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Cobb County Police had no comment on the pending lawsuit, but the spokesman did say that Barnes would not have been arrested had it been only the two police officers that heard and saw her vulgarities, adding that she was arrested because other people did too.

Barnes said case is an issue of Constitutional rights.

"I have a duty to ensure that, not just my rights, but everybody else's rights are honored under the First Amendment," said Barnes.

Counts says that she expects the courts to drop the disorderly conduct charge against Barnes which she says will pave the way further for the federal lawsuit.

Comments
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mk- rely to...
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October 17, 2012
@ mk=hypocrite.

There are people that stand up for what is RIGHT, and there are those that critique anyone that speaks out and questions our governments waste, from behind closed doors, hiding behind aliases and anonymous tags.

The internet has allowed this type of bullying.

There is a clear reason, that when I address my government, I stand before the mayor and look them in the eyes(which they themselves can't do)!

I also use my real name (including mk), when on the internet.

Smyrna city officials, as they spend and waste taxpayers money, are laughing all the way to the bank!

20 MILLION on a median on Concord Road!! Give me a break! This money is a SLUSH fund! This would NOT be happening if the citizens would band together and quit ALLOWING it!!!

It is sad that there are people that stand for nothing, but get their kicks from anonymous bullying.
El Negro Blanco
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October 17, 2012
Would it be illegal to drive down the street with N.W.A.'s 1988 hit "Fuck Tha Police" (listed as one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time) blaring? Would it be a crime to sing along with it? Would it be a crime to just sing it yourself?
MAY-RETTA SURVIVOR
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October 17, 2012
Perhaps not. However, the real "crime" would be to actually listen to such garbage in the first place. I mean, just how old/mature are you anyway?
anonymous
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October 16, 2012
I moved to Cobb to get away from these crazies.

Can we deport her to Portland?

Just Wait
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October 16, 2012
Please, please, please, please, let me be on this jury!!!
jurytime
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October 17, 2012
I called 'dibs' first!! Pick me! Pick me!
VFP42
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October 16, 2012
So now the word got out that if you bad mouth the cops just enough to get yourself arrested, you can get on the government dole and "earn" a fat pay day.

What can we do about this?

Hmmm. . . I think a nice tazing would make some people reconsider before talking their way into $16,000 of taxpayer money.
mk-self righteous
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October 16, 2012
Who the hell are all these high and mighty people making all these nasty comments towards this woman, that I doubt they know or know anything about her?

Guess this kind of self righteous arrogance is what they're teaching you inside those churches on Sunday morning?

You know, some might say that it might be a little crazy to believe everything that's being preached,... as they're passing the 'plate' around asking you to empty your pockets!

Amy is standing up for her rights, which she certainly has every right to do.

And, unfortunately , simple people sit at home and type awful things about brave people, while hiding behind aliases! I have much more respect for Amy than them!
High & Mighty
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October 16, 2012
Why on earth would I want to "know anything" about this sick,trashy woman? Suffice to say, I am familiar with her "type" which, in revulsion, is more than enough for me.
Just Wait
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October 16, 2012
I can only guess that all the "nasty comments" you are making don't count, while everyone else does.
mk=hypocrite
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October 16, 2012
Mary wrote: "And, unfortunately , simple people sit at home and type awful things about brave people, while hiding behind aliases!"

Mary, aren't these "simple people" simply exercising their First Amendment rights as you assert that Amy did? Why is free speech only applicable to Amy and not other people?

Amy is not without blame for what happened to her...she, according to the judge that issued the warrant, probably committed a crime. Don't forget, a judge issued a warrant for her arrest.
David Arver
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July 17, 2013
We have great cops in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The system sucks because we allow laws to be used to punish citizens for irritating them. That is what bad cops use when they need to have a charge, any charge so they can send someone to the county jail or city lockup to be held for a $500.00 bond. A couple of lies scribbled illegibly on the police report and it doesn't matter the outcome. The cop got to bully the offensive citizen. Most police do their jobs with restraint and wisdom. But the others are real aholes. Why would anyone support the bad cops who should be weeded out? Probably not the cops who do their job squarely and constitutionally.

Irma Stits
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October 16, 2012
The only thing that rude and disgusting women needs to occupy is a cell at the Cobb County Detention Center.
Watcher...
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October 16, 2012
I wonder when the "Occupy Movement" will move into the Marietta Square?
Irma Stits
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October 16, 2012
They were there last year, all 7 of them.
Be Careful
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October 16, 2012
To everyone out there calling the cops "thugs", you all need to realize one very important thing.

Freedom of speech does NOT mean you can do or say anything, anywhere, at any time.
BUTT OUT BARNES!
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October 16, 2012
Thanks, but I don't need my "rights" protected by the likes of you!
Sad But True
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October 16, 2012
All anyone has to do is to look at this poor woman's photograph (replete with dark circles under her vacant eyes), or view the video (containing her rambling and incohert statements) to know that this woman is in serious emotional pain and literally crying out for some sort of professional help or intervention. In addition, shame on that ambulance-chasing "lawyer" who, rather than helping her to seek professional medical help, would rather capitalize on her obvious emotional state and mental disability.
lawyerscum
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October 16, 2012
Sad But True, don't feel too sorry for this fool. She's got Rich 'I love illegals' Pellegrino and Kevin Fooley backing her up. But Cynthia Counts is the despicable lawyer that gives lawyers a bad name. Hers is a name I won't forget and will try and keep track of how big a leech she is with other 'clients'.

What a sweet, Easter morning for Amy. Going out to get butter (there's a shocker) and she's feeling so spiritual, she raises her middle finger, high to the sky. Only it's not to praise God for His son rising from the dead, it's directed to 2 police officers who start their day, pledging to serve and protect. Even the likes of Amy Barnes. Heaven help us all.
Sad But True
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October 18, 2012
@lawyerscum: If what you say is true, and I seriously doubt that it is, no amount of money would induce me to trade places with that unhappy, question-authority, human debris.
mk-tyranny in Cobb
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October 16, 2012
Amy seems like a pretty smart cookie,.. at least she STANDS for something! More intelligent than these folks that think there's no cussing going on in police cruisers or 14 year old's bedrooms!

All you self righteous people, wise up!

I stand w/ Amy , no matter what group shes in! The 1st amendment is there to protect ALL Americans.

She was held in jail 23 hours! We are on the verge of seeing people picked up off the street, NEVER to be seen again. Don't think that can happen in our country?? Study history, folks!

We have a government out of control!!

FYI,.. I wasn't arrested for saying one 'naughty' word as I was walking OUT of a townhall meeting,.. I was grabbed from behind, arrested & taken to jail to show me just whose BOSS 'round Smyrna! The 30 years in office, Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon threw his weight around because I DARE demand accountability on where all our TAX dollars are WASTED in Smyrna!

Smyrna citizens seem to not concern themselves with government waste and abuse,.. so the 20 million dollar medians will continue to be built around empty vacant shopping centers!

Cobb Dad
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October 16, 2012
Dude this is not the person you want to rally behind. By her demeaner, she was out looking for trouble and like all these "Occupy wastes" out there she should have been arrested. I am supportive of the law enforcement on this one. People like her evidently were not taught respect as they were growing up and now she needs to pay a little of the price. This thing has already gotten more press that it deserve.
VFP42
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October 16, 2012
It's okay when it's Illegals held in jail over nothing, right MK? If you ask me, you are the self righteous one making people sick, MK, whoever you could possibly be. Maybe you are friends with "anonymous"!!
Just Wait
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October 16, 2012
You know why she was in jail for 23 hours? It took that long for her to find someone to post her bail. They must have been "occupied."
afghan vet in cobb
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October 16, 2012
Don't know the ages of the teenagers who were present, but I do know this;

O.C.G.A. 16-11-39 (2010)

16-11-39. Disorderly conduct

4) Without provocation, uses obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of or by telephone to a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace

and for those talking about the stupid women in Smyrna and who think they can just do or act anything they want to in public.

O.C.G.A. 16-11-34 (2010)

16-11-34. Preventing or disrupting lawful meetings, gatherings, or processions

(a) A person who recklessly or knowingly commits any act which may reasonably be expected to prevent or disrupt a lawful meeting, gathering, or procession is guilty of a misdemeanor.



Both of these laws have been upheld in the courts for constitutionality.

As my old Drill Sgt said, if you're going to be stupid, you gota be strong. And not by smell.

Just saying
Iraq vet in Savannah
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December 31, 2012
Whether there was anyone there under the age of 14 or not doesn't matter. The Supreme Court has already ruled that by merely flipping the bird and uttering those words do not "threaten an immediate breach of the peace", and is protected by the First Amendment. My drill instructor told me to always support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
Cobb Citizen
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October 16, 2012
Get the facts, it is a state law prohibiting profanity in teb presensce of someone 14 years old or younger. The officers were enforcing a state. This creature has learned to toy with the system of freedom. She has done the same thing in the past and sued. Unfortunately, she was awarded a decent amount of money. She is a leech. To all those who attack the police and want them to pay out their pockets for lawsuits, the starting pay for CCPD is about $38,000 a year. CCPD is the finest, most profesional and well-trained police force in the region. If you want polices officersso scared to act under the protection of the law, then you will have complete chaos.

It is amazing to me that so many people have no idea the great job these officers do keeping Cobb safe and relatively peaceful. Take a look at parts of Atlanta where police refuse to answer 911 calls. That's because criminals are relentlessly seeking havens to continue their criminal behavior. CCPD protects Cobb from.becoming a haven for criminals. You might want to say thank you.
Iraq vet in Savannah
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December 31, 2012
I think you need to get the facts. The state law states: O.C.G.A. 16-11-39 (2010)

16-11-39. Disorderly conduct

4) Without provocation, uses obscene and vulgar or profane language in the presence of or by telephone to a person under the age of 14 years which threatens an immediate breach of the peace.

The Supreme Court had already ruled that by flipping the bird and uttering those words do not in fact "threaten an immediate breach of the peace", and is protected under the First Amendment. State law will never trump the Constitution.

Flash of Reality
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October 16, 2012
Ms. Barnes and her ilk are living proof that there are far too many freaks in this world and not enough circuses to house them.
VFP42
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October 16, 2012
Mary Kirkendoll sure stirred up the crazy base!

What are we taxpayers going to do now that people know they can get a fat paycheck just for running their crazy mouths?

anonymous
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October 16, 2012
seems to me your comments about a private citizen run very close to libel. You should watch that.
anonymous
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October 16, 2012
--re: What are we taxpayers going to do now that people know they can get a fat paycheck just for running their crazy mouths?--

Demand that your law enforcement officers learn and follow the laws concerning free speech...and stop throwing people in jail becasue they said something that isn't nice.
VFP42
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October 16, 2012
Private citizens are not private when they choose to make headlines in the newspaper.

So, any low-life should be able to curse the mayor and police, but anybody else is threatened with "libel" by some anonymous person for their commentary?

GOSH i wonder who that anonymous person could be..

Did you blow your windfall wad of taxpayer money yet, anonymous? If not, put it into a moving truck and get on over to Decatur where you want to be!!!
Libel? bla bla bla
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October 16, 2012
Get real. What about free speech and the First Amendment as all of Amy's support like to preach. If its good for her, its good for everyone else.
anonymous
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October 16, 2012
First, let the Cobb Police Chief tell us who will be paying for the thug behavior of his cops? Answer: taxpayers. (Thank you, Chief!)

Second, this woman is not a nice person. BUT, this cop thuggery has got to stop in Cobb county.

We either need cops that are 1) smart enough to know the law; 2) mentally balanced enough that they don't act like nazi bullies whenever someone says something they don't like, or 3) have the deep pockets to actually personally pay for their illegal behavior.

If the cops actually started having to pay for their bad and illegal behavior...they might decide the are ready to start acting like a law abiding part of our community and not thugs.

Cobb county is better than this. Citizens should demand more from Cobb Police and Sheriff.

BTW, Cobb police were apparently talking to WSB TV yesterday and they said that it is "not uncommon" for them to arrest people (under the guise of "disorderly conduct")who say curse words in public. This is alarming as heck. Not at all different from our totalitarian commie friends in China, Russia, Cuba or Venezuela, folks.
Common Sense
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October 16, 2012
While we all have first amendment freedom of speech, we also have a duty to conduct our speech in a responsible manner. Wow, the Occupy Movement has gone mobile. I thought they protested in nasty shantyvilles and now they are screaming obscentities and showing their IQ's on bikes. What an upgrade of standards. It is people like this that represent what is wrong with our country. They loot, steal and verbally bash and then sue. Pathetic victims!!
anonymous
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October 16, 2012
Common sense, can you point us to where that "duty to conduct our speech in a responsible manner" is set out?

My guess: you love free speech...as long as you agree with it. How very Mao of you!
Rob Petry
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October 15, 2012
These are the same police officers who would lay down their lives to protect Amy from violence.

Amy Barnes is one of the Rich Pellegrino/Kevin Foley-type usual suspects on the whacky far left who also opposes immigration law, borders and all people who most of us regard as normal patriotic Americans.

Here's hoping this nutball gets hers in court.
anonymous
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October 16, 2012
Petry, whats your point? That it is OK for cops to infringe one of the basic rights our constitutions grants to each citizen...becasue they would ( supposedly) lay down their life for someonone?

Get a grip my man and stop making excuses. The cops must be held as accountable as they wanted to hold this jackass OWS scum. Unfortunately for us taxpayers...the cops are wrong...the scum OWS woman is not.
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