One thing I've learned after 18 years as a lawyer (WTH?!?, I don't feel a day over, um, 40.) is that police and citizens sometimes have a very different opinion of what you can say--or in this case--sign to a police officer.
I know, cops have a tough job. They put their lives on the line to protect us every time they go out on the street. And we, as a community, generally respect their service. Heck, just look at this survey and compare where police officers rank. At least lawyers didn't make the bad side of the list in this survey!
Anyway, I've had clients arrested for all kinds of various slights to police officers--ranging from being charged with City of Colorado Springs Municipal Code Violations for Interference (for not sitting on the curb quickly enough when directed) to being charged with first degree assault on a peace officer (for being shot when not complying with an officer's orders). Those are extremes, but one situation is more common--a client is mouthy or makes an obscene gesture and is cited for either verbal "harassment" or "disorderly conduct".
Jumping back to the respect that we give police officers, the down side of that respect is that it's part of the job to deal with people who are drunk, irrational, or just don't like authority. And that last part, dislike of authority and being able to communicate that dislike is one of the founding principals of our Constitution. I know I've said it before, but it's so important, "they" put it #1 in the Bill of Rights--The First Amendment!
The reasoning is this: Nowhere is being able to speak your mind so important as it is when telling the government and it's representatives to pound sand. That's where the rubber hits the road for a truly free people, apologies to my friends that really like the Second Amendment--there's a reason it was # 2 :-). This case was decided last year and is instructive, and reviewing gave me the idea for this entry. It's almost a carbon copy of this case I wrote about eighteen months ago. I don't advocate running around and "flipping the bird" at the police, or really anybody, (I'm big on being polite) but it just isn't a crime.
So, if you've been charged with verbal harassment or verbal disorderly conduct, you may have a Constitutional defense. Call a qualified defense attorney to talk about your rights.