Ibrahim Ahmed is a D.C. taxi driver. He was fined $500 by an officer of the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles (formerly called the Taxi Commission) for allegedly shouting "fuck you" at the officer when he felt the officer treated him in an insulting way. The ticket was upheld by an Administrative Law Judge at the D.C. Office of Administrative Hearings, and Mr. Ahmed filed an appeal with the D.C. Court of Appeals.
We heard about the case from lawyers at  the Legal Aid Society, and agreed to represent Mr. Ahmed. On June 29, 2020, we filed a motion for summary reversal on his behalf, pointing out that  it has been clear for many years that “cursing a cop” is constitutionally protected speech. As the D.C. Court of Appeals explained in 2007, "A police officer is expected to have a greater tolerance for verbal assaults’ and is ‘especially trained to resist provocation’ by ‘verbal abuse that might provoke or offend the ordinary citizen.’”  And as the Supreme Court noted twenty years earlier, “The freedom of individuals verbally to oppose or challenge police action without thereby risking arrest is one of the principal characteristics by which we distinguish a free nation from a police state.”
On July 20, the government agreed to nullify the ticket, and we agreed to dismiss the appeal.

Date filed

June 29, 2020


D.C. Court of Appeals