David Hackbarth is a Tampa resident who has reached a $50,000 settlement with Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was accused of hooliganism after he accidentally gave an officer his middle finger.
Hackbart tried to park parallel to a car when it stopped behind him. This prevented him from getting back to his seat. Hackbart reacted by turning the driver in front of him and taking his place. Hackbart claimed he heard someone shouting “Don’t Turn Off This Driver!” He then turned around and pointed in the exact same direction.
Hackbart was actually shooting down Pittsburgh Police Sergeant Brian Elledge who was driving in the other direction. Elledge stopped Hackbart for disorderly conduct and turned around. Hackbart was convicted by a district court judge. However, Hackbart appealed and the conviction was overturned.
Hackbart sued Elledge, the City, and claimed that his First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated by Elledge’s inappropriate reference to a protected expression. Hackbart claimed that he was anxious and stressed by the possibility of being sentenced to prison and the many flights necessary to appear before a court in Pennsylvania and Florida. He sought compensation for lost wages, travel expenses, and emotional stress.
Hackbart was accused of creating a danger by blocking traffic and forcing drivers to follow him in the oncoming lane to avoid him. Elledge admitted that he had provided the link under subsection A3, but it should have been under A4. Officials from the city claimed they had provided enough information regarding protected speech and appropriate responses for obscene gestures and words during training.
On the first day of trial, the parties agreed to pay $ 50,000.