New York Giants fans are fighting for their right to curse out their team.
Two Giants fans are alleging in a federal complaint filed in San Jose, Calif., last week that their free speech rights were violated when police officers at Levi’s Stadium arrested them for cursing and flipping off players, according to the Mercury News.
According to the lawsuit, the incident occurred Nov. 12, 2017, in a game between the Giants and the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara. Brothers Kyle and Patrick Flynn started to give the middle finger to Giants players and shouted “you f-----g suck” at them, according to the newspaper.
Nicholas Cusimano, a Santa Clara police officer, reportedly told them to stop, but didn’t issue a warning that if their behavior continued they would be ejected or arrested, according to the lawsuit. After another 49ers score, the brothers continued to shout and the officer called for the fans to be ejected from the stadium.
Kyle Flynn remained in his seat because he thought he did nothing wrong, but was allegedly choked by officers and placed in a total body restraint. Patrick Flynn, who was protesting his brother’s arrest by taking a knee and hanging onto a railing, was allegedly grabbed and choked by an officer.
Special Events Officer Theodore Rogers then hit Patrick Flynn’s hand with a baton despite one of Flynn’s friends shouting to stop because Flynn was recovering from a broken hand at the time, according to the lawsuit.
Patrick Flynn was then allegedly pushed over the railing and onto the field 10 feet below him where he was subsequently hit with a stun gun and kneed in the face, the lawsuit said. Police accused Flynn of being “belligerent, intoxicated and violating the stadium’s code of conduct,” according to NJ.com.
Video of the incident showed Patrick Flynn falling from the railing and being tackled by police officers.
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Kyle Flynn was initially charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest, but it was later dismissed, the Mercury News reported. The brothers’ friend was also charged with obstruction of justice.
“Patrick Flynn’s and Kyle Flynn’s comments and gestures directed towards the New York Giants players, as well as Patrick Flynn’s decision to ‘take a knee’" were protected First Amendment expression, the lawsuit said.
The Giants went on to lose the game, 31-21 – their third straight loss of the season.