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Pittsburgh Approves $50,000 'Middle Finger' Settlement

Pittsburgh City Council has tentatively approved paying $50,000 to settle a free speech lawsuit filed by a man cited for giving a city police officer the middle finger.

Thirty-five-year-old David Hackbart, of Butler, made the gesture at a driver in April 2006, then did it again when someone yelled at him — realizing only later the second person was a police officer.

The American Civil Liberties Union sued saying Hackbart's gesture was constitutionally protected speech. A federal judge postponed a September trial indefinitely at the request of attorneys on both sides.

Council gave initial approval to the settlement Tuesday, but must vote again next week to finally approve the payment.

No court documents settling the case have been filed.