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The Latest: Police: Middle finger ticket to be training tool

The Latest on driver ticketed for giving a trooper the middle finger (all times local):

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3:30 p.m.

Louisiana State Police say a trooper's decision to ticket a driver who gave him the middle finger was "an unfortunate incident which will be used as a training opportunity."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana says the ticket was illegal retaliation for protected free speech. Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the ticket alleged public intimidation, a felony.

In a letter faxed to the Louisiana State Police on Monday, she also noted that a prosecutor refused to charge the driver.

Esman says the issue arose Dec. 28, when a driver on Interstate 20 raised his middle finger while passing a parked trooper. She says the trooper pulled him over and ticketed him.

State Police spokesman Doug Cain says the agency "has tremendous respect for the First Amendment even when the citizens we serve choose to be vulgar and disrespectful."

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2 p.m.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana is chastising state police because a trooper ticketed a driver who gave him the middle finger.

Executive Director Marjorie Esman says the ticket alleged public intimidation, a felony. In a letter faxed to the Louisiana State Police on Monday, she says giving the ticket was illegal retaliation for protected free speech. Her letter also noted that a prosecutor refused to charge the driver.

State police spokesman Doug Cain says the agency is looking into the matter.

Esman says the issue arose Dec. 28, when a driver on Interstate 20 raised his middle finger while passing a parked trooper. She says the trooper pulled him over and ticketed him.

Esman urged state police to ensure officers understand the full scope of the right to free speech.

(This item has been corrected to reflect that Esman's title is executive director, not president).