The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who was pulled over and interrogated after her bumper sticker caught the attention of Indianapolis police officers. The ACLU alleges a violation of the woman's First Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights.
The complaint says that on June 17, Pamela Konchinsky of Indianapolis was turning into the Merchants Garage on South Meridian Street in her silver Toyota minivan when two Indianapolis Metropolitan Police officers entered the garage behind her. One of the officers told Konchinsky that she was being detained because of a bumper sticker taped to the rear window of her minivan, which read: "Unmarked Police Car." The officer told Konchinsky that people would think she was impersonating a police officer and that someone might shoot her.
After reviewing her license and registration, Konchinsky was ordered to get out of her car and remove the bumper sticker.
The ACLU said the officers’ subjected Konchinsky to detention, questioning, intimidation and harassment over the message on her bumper sticker and that violates two constitutional amendments:
• The First Amendment protecting free expression.
• The Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable and suspicionless seizures.
"We contend that the police officers who detained and interrogated our client without legal grounds to do so violated her constitutional rights," said ACLU of Indiana staff attorney Kelly Eskew in a news release. "The promise of our Constitution is that these lines cannot be crossed."
The lawsuit, Pamela Konchinsky v. Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officers John Doe I and John Doe II, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.