A U.S. Coast Guard veteran who gives a middle finger salute to the entire city of Buena Vista whenever he passes through town has sued the city claiming his civil rights have been violated every time police issue him a citation.
Richard Lipton filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Denver, naming Buena Vista, and police officers Randall Hancock and Amber Lee as defendants.
“Mr. Lipton has been arrested on multiple occasions for expressing his displeasure with Buena Vista, and its officials, by flipping off the entire town as he passes through it,” according to the lawsuit filed by Denver civil rights attorneys David Lane and Andy McNulty.
Lipton, who is homeless, is seeking economic and compensatory damages for his mental pain, humiliation, anxiety, loss of liberty and individual dignity.
Buena Vista Police Chief Jimmy Tidwell referred comment to his attorney, Jeff Parker, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday morning.
“Obviously, I’m very aware of it,” Tidwell said. “There are two sides to every story.”
The act of “flipping off” by extending one’s middle finger is a well-known act of displeasure, the lawsuit said.
“It is not an act that is sexual in nature,” the lawsuit said.
On June 8, 2017, Lipton was at a stop sign in Buena Vista when he saw Hancock and held up his middle finger. Hancock then followed Lipton through town as he continued displaying his middle finger, the lawsuit said.